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July 2, 2020

Transportation leaders remind motorists to drive safely over July 4th weekend







Transportation leaders remind motorists to drive safely over July 4th weekend

Police to increase enforcement, focus on stopping dangerous drivers across Vermont


WILLISTON, Vt. (Thursday, July 2, 2020) — The Vermont State Police, the Agency of Transportation and partners across Vermont are reminding motorists to drive safely over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.


State troopers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, local and county law enforcement agencies will be visible this holiday season to detect and deter aggressive, distracted and impaired driving — the dangerous driving behaviors that take the lives of Vermonters and visitors to our state.


“Speed, aggressive, distracted and impaired driving are the demons that continue to haunt our roads, and these behaviors will be the targets this holiday weekend,” said Lt. Tara Thomas, VSP’s Safety Programs Unit commander.


Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Thomas also reminded people to share Vermont’s roads and to always buckle up. She was joined at the news conference by Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn, Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division Col. William Elovirta, and Paul White of the Vermont State Highway Safety Office.


“Lives continue to be lost as a result of occupants not wearing their seat belts. Unrestrained motorists account for 60% of Vermont fatalities. We can’t say it enough: Seat belts save lives,” she said. “These beautiful Vermont summer months are a time of year many people look forward to. We have more bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the roadway with motor vehicles. Whether you’re a motorist, a bicyclist or a pedestrian, please be vigilant and share the road this holiday weekend and anytime you are out traveling.”


Although traffic volume is down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont has experienced an increase in crash-related fatalities compared with this time last year. For January 1 to July 1, in 2019 the state saw 11 fatal crashes, compared with 21 the same period this year. 


Nationwide, nearly 30% of highway deaths are attributed to impaired driving. Even more alarming, Vermont far exceeds the national average: In 2019, 50% of Vermont’s fatal crashes involved impairment.


“As you celebrate this holiday, please plan ahead to ensure you have a safe and sober ride home,” Lt. Thomas said. “Remember, buzzed driving is impaired driving. If you feel different, you drive different.” 



Lt. Tara Thomas

Commander, Safety Programs

Vermont State Police


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