Press Release: February 15th, 2017
Takata Airbag Recall
There have been 11 confirmed U.S. fatalities tied to the rupture of Takata air bag inflators. The risk is grave. Visit SaferCar.gov to check your VIN to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. Thare nearly 70 million vehicles on the road with Takata air bag inflators. Check your VIN now to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. www.nhtsa.gov. Perform regular safety checks around the house, including checking your vehicle’s VIN for recalls. Find out more at SaferCar.gov.
Press Release: October 5th, 2016
NHTSA - Road to Zero Conference
At this day-long conference, NHTSA will follow up on a series of meetings held earlier this year to address a nationwide increase in traffic deaths. The agency will be joined by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Safety Council to lay out countermeasures and behavior-change strategies that will cut traffic fatalities and put the United States on the road to zero traffic fatalities. This conference is ongoing throughout the day. Watch the livestream of afternoon sessions at http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/october2016/index.html
Press Release: April 27, 2017
New Report Calls States to Take Action on Drug-Impaired Driving
Press Release: April 12, 2017
New Research Indicates Anti-Drunk Driving Efforts Should Include Bicyclists and Pedestrians
Press Release: March 30, 2017
Pedestrian Fatalities Projected to Surge 11% in 2016
Press Release: February 15, 2017
Increase in Highway Deaths Requires Action
Press Release: November 3rd, 2016
GHSA to Fund State Drowsy Driving Programs Through National Road Safety Foundation Grant
Press Release: October 12th, 2016
As Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10 Percent, New Report Spotlights Older Teen Driver Behavior
Press Release: October 5th, 2016
Using What We Know: Urgency for Focus and Coordination
As part of the #RoadtoZero launch this morning, GHSA's Executive Director Jonathan Adkins participated in the panel "Using What We Know: Urgency for Focus and Coordination."
With the disheartening news from NHTSA that preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 indicate that traffic fatalities rose 10.4%, now is not the time for additional burdens to be placed on our state highway safety offices. Successful programs require flexibility, creativity, and the ability to focus on the issues, not the paperwork.
Conversation also included broadening the focus beyond just "belts and booze," realizing that vehicles will not be fully autonomous for decades, and the importance of innovation and partnership in highway safety.
This conference is ongoing throughout the day. Watch the livestream of afternoon sessions at http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/october2016/index.html
Press Release: August 8th, 2016
New Report Spotlights Dangers of Drowsy Driving, New analysis reveals annual societal cost estimated at $109 billion
Press Release: July 1st, 2016
State Highway Safety Officials Concerned by Projected 7.7% Increase in Motor Vehicle Fatalities
Press Release: May 24th, 2016
As National Traffic Fatalities Surge, States Focus on Seat Belt Safety
Press Release: May 19th, 2016
Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015
Press Release: April 12th, 2016
GHSA Alarmed by Data Linking Speed Limit Increase to Fatalities
Press Release: March 8th, 2016
Pedestrian Fatalities Projected to Spike 10% in 2015
Press Release: April 20th, 2017
Vermont Police crack down on Move Over Law.
Vermont Highway Safety Alliance
Press Release: April 10th, 2017
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Green Mountain Transit now has this rolling on 44 buses when they are out of service but still on the roads and interstate, returning to the depot or starting points. They loaded the message in yesterday.
Vermont Highway Safety Alliance
Press Release: April 6th, 2017
Mt. Abe to Host Personal Safety Fair for Students May 5
Collaborative Community Project Brings VT Organizations to High School Campus
BRISTOL: On Friday, May 5 Mt. Abraham Union High School will host workshops and presentations by numerous organizations, creating a day-long, campus-wide event with a ‘personal safety’ theme for students. The fair, developed by faculty and students in partnership with the Youth Safety Council of Vermont and with support from Co-operative Insurance Companies, will showcase safety knowledge from across Vermont.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.1 The safety fair is meant to have a positive impact on Mt. Abraham’s student drivers, so they might choose to drive thoughtfully for their own benefit and the safety of others. A mock crash will be the central educational experience of the fair, presented by students in the Mt. Abraham Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program (VTLSP) in conjunction with Bristol Fire, Police and Rescue Departments. A scripted, simulated crash will reveal the potentially tragic outcomes of distracted driving, wearing no seat belt, and bad decision-making. Mock crashes are dramatic educational tools that complement consistent messaging and prevention programs.
Participants in the fair include Barrett’s Trucking, who will bring a 'big rig' to help young drivers experience the blind spots that the drivers of large trucks face. The Vermont State Police will present forensic crash reconstruction techniques. Motorcycle safety will be addressed by Ride Safe VT, and Sharon Huntley will speak about the tragic loss of her teen son, Spencer, in a distraction-related crash. The Youth Safety Council will present ‘Turn Off Texting,’ with students driving a golf cart while texting to learn first-hand how dangerous distracted driving can be, and AT&T will be there with their It Can Wait campaign, talking about the dangers of texting while driving. Teen race car driver Evan Hallstrom will be on hand to talk about the importance of safety belts. Many other organizations including the Vermont Department of Health, UVM Medical Center, Alive At 25, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, AAA Northern New England, WomenSafe, FireProTec, Middlebury College, Heritage Toyota and Ford, Bristol Rescue, Bristol Police, TextLess LiveMore and other community volunteers will be on campus to present information and interact with students. In addition to the VTLSP student group, students in the Mt Abraham senior civics class have stepped forward to help plan and implement the event, taking positive civic action in their school community.
Mt. Abraham principal Jessica Barewicz said, “An amazing team of teachers, students, and community members are thoughtfully planning a meaningful experience for all at the Safety Fair. They know that as school community we need to understand that the concept of safety needs to be taken in many directions. Without a safe educational and living environment humans can't learn and thrive. I'm so grateful for the work they are doing to engage the whole community in a conversation about safety."
With the assistance of Heritage Ford, faculty, students and volunteers will help document the event to create an online reference guide, building on the work of the Youth Safety Council to publish a directory of free safety programming available to Vermont schools, yscvt.wordpress.com. The new guide will help other Vermont high schools produce similar safety fairs with confidence and easy access to many freely available programs.
Sharon Koller, Student Assistance Program Counselor at Mt. Abraham and advisor to the student “VTLSP” club, facilitated the event planning. She said, “Our school is committed to preparing students to make decisions that have positive consequences for themselves and others. This Safety Fair expands on that commitment, giving students even more insight and information to help them independently be safer on the roads and in their daily lives.”
James Lockridge, Executive Director of the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, said, “Vermont can look to the people of Bristol and our safety community across the state for a model of collaboration. This project exemplifies the vision of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance which inspired this safety fair effort.” The VHSA is a non-profit organization that brings together highway safety stakeholders from all over Vermont, including state agencies and law enforcement as well as federal partners, insurance companies, and nonprofit organizations, vermonthighwaysafety.org
Contact: Sharon Koller, email@example.com, (802) 453-2333.
About Mt. Abraham Union High School: Mt. Abraham is a Grades 7-12 public middle/high school in the village of Bristol, serving the Five Town district of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven, and Starksboro. Mt. Abraham is part of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (ANESU) and works to create and maintain a stimulating and respectful environment in which all are engaged, all pursue and promote learning, and all participate as active, responsible citizens. http://www.mtabevt.org/
About the Youth Safety Council of VT: The YSCVT uses golf carts and an advanced driving simulator to demonstrate the dangers of distraction to Vermont’s student drivers. With support from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and sponsors, the ‘Turn Off Texting’ program is free to high schools and community groups statewide. yscvt.org
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality facts: teenagers 2014. Arlington (VA): The Institute; 2014 [cited 2016 Sept 20]. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers
Photo: Faculty, students, and community members plan the Mt. Abraham safety fair. Clockwise from left:: Sharon Koller, Student Assistance Program Counselor; Kevin Masse, Driver Educator; James Lockridge, Executive Director, Youth Safety Council of Vermont; Anne Friedrichs, Social Studies Teacher; Siena Hoaglund and Satinder Pabla, students. Photo courtesy Youth Safety Council of Vermont. Full resolution file available at http://www.yscvt.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Safety_Fair_Planning-FULLRESOLUTION.jpg
Burlington Free Press
Press Release: March 14th, 2017
Texting and driving from new heights
Press Release: February 28th, 2017
Have some Vermont crossways become too dangerous?
Burlington Free Press
The busiest and most crash-prone section of Interstate 89 is between Exit 16 in Colchester and Exit 13 in South Burlington, according to data collected by the state police and the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
"We hear a lot from the public on a regular basis about the aggressive driving that occurs in there," Vermont State Police Lt. Garry Scott said Monday. "Actual data shows we have a high call volume in this stretch."
State agencies want the public to weigh in on the issues they see, via an online survey, to help shape any fixes. The survey is conducted by the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, in partnership with the state police, state transportation agency, Department of Motor Vehicles and local law enforcement agencies.
More than 55,000 cars travel through that highway stretch per day, Scott said. The state police barracks in Williston, which covers the interstate from Georgia to Waterbury, sees about 1,500 calls per year on the interstate. Of those calls, 900 are for incidents between exits 13 and 16, Scott said.
The state agencies believe most travelers in this area are commuting to and from work in Burlington or surrounding areas. Scott said the high volume of motorists coupled with driving tendencies in the area creates a high potential for crashes and congestion.
One such event happened Monday morning in the southbound stretch between Winooski and South Burlington when multiple cars were involved in a crash and caused delays during the 7-8 a.m. rush hour.
"I've driven all over the country and in multiple overseas locations. VTers simply suck at merging," Shawn Benjamin of St. Albans wrote in a post on the Burlington Free Press' Facebook page. "Three lanes would be nice, but folks here love to hang out in the passing lane and have little concept of a driving lane versus an entry/exit lane."
In a follow-up phone conversation, Benjamin said he thinks the area should be three lanes instead of two from exits 13 to 16.Merging in that area seems to be one of the biggest difficulties for drivers, he said.
"People don't know how to drive the interstate and how to be courteous," he said.
Carol Polakowski of Essex Junction, who drives from Exit 15 in Winooski to Exit 13 each day, agreed that the highway should be expanded to three lanes. She said the biggest issues she sees are tailgating and drivers failing to slow down from 65 to 55, as the speed limit mandates. Polakowski hopes there will be more enforcement of the speed limit and around aggressive driving.
"For me, a perfect driving road is at least three lanes, because you've got the right lane for the slow merging in and out, you've got the middle lane for traveling, and the left lane for passers," Polakowski said.
In the meantime, Polakowski asked other drivers to pay attention and slow down.
"It's only a three-mile stretch; you're going to get through it," Polakowski said.
Others commenting on the Burlington Free Press' Facebook page agreed that merging is a problem and added that impatient or aggressive drivers also are an issue. Some asked for greater enforcement from police regarding speeders. Several also indicated the exit and entrance ramps, especially around Exit 14 east and west, can be problematic.
Lt. Scott said the state is looking for short- and long-term solutions. He said the collaborating agencies are considering rumble strips near the exits and more permanent signs to improve merging and awareness. The agencies also are looking at how road design and infrastructure may play into some of the problems. By midafternoon Tuesday, almost 1,600 people had responded to the survey, state police spokesman Scott Waterman said.
"We're also hoping the public can give us some suggestions as they drive through it every day as to what we can do to fix this and kind of make it safer for everyone," Scott said. He added, "We understand it's a problem and we want input."
VERMONT GOVERNOR'S HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM
The 2016 Vermont Impaired Driving Summit
Press Release: December 7th, 2016
New effort to target impaired drivers - WCAX News
Vermont Leaders Want to Crack Down on Impaired Driving - Fox 44 News
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -
More than 60 lives have been lost in traffic accidents in Vermont this year and nearly half of those crashes involved impaired drivers. Vermont legislators, prosecutors and police gathered Wednesday in South Burlington to learn more about the problem.
Despite stricter laws, targeted enforcement and education efforts, drunk driving remains a scourge on the highway. But with marijuana legalization looming, drug impairment and how to detect it is also a growing concern.
"When you have lost 29 people where impairment was a contributing factor in one year, that certainly is something we should take a look at. And when you take a look at these numbers and see drug impairment surpassing drunk impairment, that's concerning," said Scott Davidson of the Governor's Highway Safety Program.
The state is looking to get more officers around the state specially trained in detecting impaired drivers. Another goal is to get a bill passed allowing oral fluid testing of drugged driving suspects.
Addison County Independent
Press Release: November 30th, 2016
Local firms support 'Click-it or Ticket' safety effort
NEW HAVEN — This past Wednesday, Nov. 23, local businesses joined law enforcement officers and officials from the Governor’s Highway Safety Council, AAA of New England and the Vermont Truck and Bus Association to promote the importance of seat belt use in a press conference in New Haven.
Phoenix Feeds & Nutrition of New Haven and Mike’s Fuels of Bridport were the featured local businesses at the event. Officials said these companies promote occupant protection, not only within their operations, but in all areas where they do business. Both companies have agreed to place “Click-it or Ticket” decals on their vehicles in a further attempt to saturate the motoring public with the message that using seat belts is not only a good idea, but it is required by law.
The press conference took place in the parking lot at Phoenix Feeds, and included police officers from the Vergennes Police Department and the Vermont State Police, among others.
AAA, also known as the American Automobile Association, advised that over Thanksgiving a million more Americans were expected to travel than last year because of a boost in consumer confidence. Nearly 9 in 10 people travel by automobile. With a greater number of vehicles on the road, comes a potential for more crashes resulting in injury or death.
Many of these can be avoided by simply wearing a seatbelt.
Vermont Law Enforcement will be actively enforcing traffic laws this holiday season to make sure all travelers are wearing their seatbelts.
Vermont has already seen the loss of 57 lives on our roads in 2016. Please, Click-it or Ticket.
VERMONT GOVERNOR'S HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM
Click It or Ticket Mobilization Fall 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2016
CONTACT: Scott Davidson, Governor’s Highway Safety Program
Law Enforcement Launches Click It or Ticket Mobilization
Montpelier, Vermont – Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, when millions of Americans hit the road to spend time with friends and family. But more vehicles on the road means potential for more crashes and more fatalities. Tragically, Vermont has already lost 57 lives on our roads since the beginning of the year and far too many of those were not wearing a seat belt. We at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) believe that one death is too many, so we are asking all Vermonters this Holiday Season to always Buckle Up.
This Thanksgiving, state and local law enforcement are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement agencies across the country on a high-visibility Click It or Ticket mobilization to make sure all Thanksgiving travelers are wearing their seat belts.
The Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to save lives by making sure all Vermont drivers and passengers get the message to wear their seat belts. The campaign combines powerful messages about seat belt safety with increased patrolling for all unbuckled motorists.
Vermont law enforcement will also be actively enforcing Aggressive Driving, Speeding, Distracted Driving and Impaired Driving during this Holiday Season. These behaviors are the leading causes of serious injury and fatal crashes.
In partnership, VTrans, the American Automobile Association, (AAA), the Vermont Truck and Bus Association, the Vermont law enforcement community and our federal partners will be hosting a press conference on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 09:00 at Phoenix Feed 5482 Ethan Allen Highway in New Haven, next to the intersection of Rt. 7 / Rt. 117 to promote the BUCKLE UP message.
In addition, this summer the Vermont Truck and Bus Association committed to promoting the Buckle Up message, not only in Vermont, but in all areas where they do business in New England and across the country by posting Click It or Ticket signs on the rear of all their vehicles.
For more information about traveling safely during the Holiday Season, please visit ghsp.vermont.gov.
Press Release: November 10th, 2016
Vt. State Police go undercover to bust distracted drivers
CHARLOTTE, Vt. - We all know the dangers of texting and driving, but hundreds of drivers do it anyway. Investigative Reporter Jennifer Costa found out Vermont State Police are now going undercover to bust drivers breaking the hands-free law.
Transportation Area Maintenance Supervisor Chris Bearor catches drivers doing a lot of crazy things.
"They might be reading a book. I've seen makeup being put on, brushing their hair, shaving. I've seen it all," said Bearor.
But the single biggest distraction is cellphones.
Bearor works for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Typically there are just a couple of cones between him and two tons of steel.
"It can be very scary at times," said Bearor.
Since Vermont's hands-free law went into effect last year, being a flagger has gotten more dangerous.
"People are looking down even more than before. Before it was up in the air, they were somewhat looking at what was going on. Now, they don't look up at all," said Dan Shepard, area maintenance supervisor.
The average driver will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road just to send a single text. Shepard sees one out of every three drivers doing it.
"They come on the workers and they don't even realize that one of them is outside of the cone a little bit and it's a close call," said Shepard.
"People still aren't getting the message," said Lt. John Flannigan, Vermont State Police.
Now that Vermont law bans all hand-held electronics, it's easier for police to catch drivers in the act.
"So, we're looking at some new strategies," said Flannigan.
And there are more eyes watching than ever before.
"We've got another one. Green F-150. It's got a white tag. It's coming down now," said Sgt. Dave Sutton, Vt. State Police.
He looks like a flagger, but Sutton is really a spotter working undercover to crack down on texters. When he sees one, he radios ahead to a trooper waiting to make the stop.
Sgt. Paul Ravelin: When you drove by you had the cellphone up in your hand you were looking down at it. You're in a construction zone with people walking around.
Driver: Can't argue with you, sir.
State police are trying this strategy out in work zones across the state
Press Release: October 27th, 2016
WCAX earns Lifesaver Award for road safety series
BURLINGTON, Vt. - This summer WCAX was focused on keeping families safe on the roads.
The high number of deaths on Vermont roads had us going in depth and asking questions about what was being done to stop crashes from happening.
Wednesday, WCAX received the Lifesaver Award at the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance annual meeting for the work we did on The Drive for Summer Safety.
Youth Safety Council of Vermont, AT&T, & Governor's Highway Safety Program Raise 'Turn Off Texting' Awareness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2016
Statewide high school anti-distraction program made free to driver educators
The dangers of texting while driving and other distractions are immense and real, but many new drivers are unaware of the potential consequences. The Youth Safety Council is working to change the perspectives of young drivers, making roads safer in Vermont one generation at a time and at no cost to educators. Support from AT&T and a federal grant managed by the state are making this possible.
The Youth Safety Council of Vermont shares its Turn Off Texting demonstration with teen drivers at high schools across the state, raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving by putting students behind the wheel of a golf cart to navigate a course of cones while texting. It’s a unique, memorable and effective experience for participants that helps them always make safer decisions about how they drive. James Lockridge, YSCVT Executive Director, said, “A crucial lesson for new drivers is learning that their actions affect others, and that they make decisions not just for themselves but for the safety of other people. Turn Off Texting helps Vermont teens discover this responsibility and commit to it.”
The Vermont Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) awards federal highway safety grant funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to local, state and non-profit agencies for projects to improve highway safety and reduce deaths and serious injuries due to crashes. Funded projects align with the state’s strategic highway safety plan. GHSP has awarded the Turn Off Texting program a 2016-2017 grant that makes it possible to present the program free of charge to Vermont high schools and community events. James Baraw, GHSP Program Coordinator, said, ”The Youth Safety Council has been a champion of safety for Vermont’s newest road users and every year we find the Turn Off Texting program reinforcing our confidence in their work. That’s demonstrated by this grant award.”
AT&T is renewing their sponsorship support for Turn Off Texting as a strong ally and advocate for the safety of drivers in Vermont. Their dedication to driver safety resulted in ‘It Can Wait’ — a national movement urging drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones. The campaign began with a focus on not texting and driving and expanded to the broader dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. Owen Smith, AT&T Regional Vice President, said, "The Turn Off Texting program provides a visceral experience for participants and we count the Youth Safety Council among our most effective partners in sharing this message. Through programs like this, we have helped to grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to more than 90% of audiences surveyed.”
Driver educators are encouraged to schedule a Turn Off Texting demonstration at their school in October or early November while weather is mild, and also choose dates in the spring. More information about the program — including a video overview — and the option to request a demonstration can be found at yscvt.org.
For more information, contact:
Photos: (Top) Turn Off Texting presenter Paul Burroughs with student drivers, driver educator
Sandie Chaloux, Andrew Kingman of AT&T, and Officer Benjamin Michaud of the Montpelier
Police at U32 High School in East Montpelier, 2016. (Bottom) Owen Smith of AT&T speaks at
a road safety event on the steps of the Vermont state house, 2016.
Vermont Highway Fatalities Up 20 Percent
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2016
The Governor's Highway Safety Program reports there have been 43 traffic fatalities so far in 2016, including 10 motorcyclists and five pedestrians. Scott Davidson, GHSP chief, told Vermont Edition Thursday that factors like good weather and an improving economy can lead to an increase in accidents and fatalities. Click Here to Listen
Rutland County begins data-driven enforcement program, targets hot spots for speed, impaired driving and fatalities.
WPTZ News Story.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2016
RUTLAND, Vt. - Nearly a dozen police agencies from across Rutland County announced a new effort Wednesday to coordinate their patrols to target intersections and roadways that state crash data shows have become the region's most dangerous.
"Rutland is actually a pilot project," said Scott Davidson, with the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "We need to do better by combining resources and working together."
Modeled after the established SHARP accident reduction program in Chittenden County, Rutland will begin its own data-driven enforcement focusing on a dozen hot spots around the county.
The Rutland County Sheriff's Department will administer a $360,000 federal grant that will fund extra overtime for officers in the coming year.
"We have a problem with drunk driving, with people not being restrained and with fatal accidents," said Lt. Kevin Geno. "We've had, in the last year, two fatal crashes that involved three people in each fatal crash."
The targeted areas span both Rutland's urban corridors and back country roads. Plainclothes officers in unmarked cars -- even on bikes and in big rigs -- will hunt for drivers ignoring Vermont's ban on hand-held electronics, or not wearing seat belts.
"I drive an unmarked car. Every day, I see five or six or seven people on cellphones weaving around the road," Rutland Sheriff Steven Bernard said.
By the end of 2017, police hope to see Rutland County's 85 percent seat belt use rate rise to 87 or 88 percent, and see a net reduction of at least five serious crashes.
"That would be huge," Bernard said.
The sheriff said he'll again lobby state lawmakers in Montpelier who have resisted a change allowing motorists to be pulled over and ticketed for no reason other than failure to wear a seat belt.
Right now in Vermont, officers need another reason to initiate a stop.
Not Buckling Up, Driving Impaired and Speeding Leading to Increased Highway Fatalities
Contact: Bruce Nyquist, (802) 828-2696, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2016
MONTPELIER, Vt. – August 26, 2016— Highway fatalities to date on Vermont roads have nearly doubled compared to this time last year, with the majority of fatal crashes involving non-use or improper seatbelt usage, speeding, and/or driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, according to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).
Deaths on Vermont roads increased by 68 percent in the first six months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. The United States lost over 35,000 lives on our roadways in 2015 – 57 of those were in Vermont. To date this year, 40 lives have been lost.
“Last year we had historically low numbers through the second quarter, but then we had a few above average months in a row,” said Bruce Nyquist, Director of the Office of Highway Safety for VTrans. “We must continue to focus on impaired driving, speed, distracted driving and occupant protection, while also ensuring that our vulnerable users, motorcyclists and work zones are safe.”
Of the reported motor vehicle highway fatalities in Vermont so far this year, 64 percent of occupants were unbelted, compared to 47 percent who were unbelted in 2015.
Impairment by alcohol, drugs or both was a contributing factor in almost half of this year’s fatal crashes in Vermont – a trend that matches that of 2015.
Aggressive driving, speed and distracted driving have also factored into the number of lives lost on Vermont roads, with speed being a suspected factor in 18 highway fatalities so far this year.
Scott Davidson, Highway Safety Program Chief for the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said, “In promoting the “Toward Zero Deaths” philosophy, we believe that one death on Vermont roads is too many. We are committed to our critical role to ensure safe travel on Vermont’s roadways by promoting safe driving behavior.”
VTrans works closely with state police, county sheriff’s departments and municipal police departments, who will be increasing efforts to enforce impaired driving over Labor Day Weekend as part of their Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
For more information on highway safety in Vermont, visit vtrans.vermont.gov/highway/safety.
2016 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Scott Davidson, Vermont Governor's Highway Safety Program Chief.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2016
This Labor Day, Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
In 2015, our nation lost over 35,000 lives on our roadways, 57 of those were in Vermont. Impairment by alcohol, drugs or both were a contributing factor in almost half of last year’s fatal crashes in Vermont.
This Labor Day weekend, families and friends will be celebrating the end of the summer. Sadly, this festive time has also become a dangerous time for America’s roads, as many drunk drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating. For this reason, Vermont law enforcement is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) to stop drunk drivers and help save lives. The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs August 19-September 5, 2016. During this period, local, state and county law enforcement will be increasing patrols in order to prevent and detect drunk driving. Increased state and national messaging about the dangers of driving drunk, coupled with sobriety checkpoints and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roads.
According to NHSTA, on average, over 10,000 people died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend (6 p.m. August 29 – 5:59 a.m. September 2), 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage over the five years 2010 to 2014. And nighttime proves to be the most dangerous time to be out on the roads: During the 2014 Labor Day holiday period, 83 percent of drunk-driving crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. – as compared to half of all drunk-driving crash fatalities throughout the rest of that year.
In an effort to help eliminate tragedies, Vermont law enforcement will be deploying high visibility patrols and checkpoints throughout the state. These high visibility patrols and checkpoints will be conducted during the day and night. “There is no good reason to drive if you are impaired to any degree,” said Lieutenant John Flannigan of the Vermont State Police Traffic Operations.
Impairment by alcohol is not the only threat on our roads. Vermont law enforcement continues to receive specialized training in ARIDE (Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement), which prepares officers to recognize certain clues of impairment by substances other than alcohol. In addition, nationally certified DREs (Drug Recognition Experts) will be deployed in support of this campaign. The DRE program is a specialty in law enforcement that has means of identifying and prosecuting drug-impaired drivers.
“Please, please: plan ahead before you go out,” said Scott Davidson of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, do not drink and drive.”
NHTSA has made it even easier to get home safely when you’ve been drinking, with the free SaferRide mobile app, available through iTunes and Google Play. The app allows you to call pre-selected contacts or a taxi, and also identifies your location so you can be picked up.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Drive Sober Vermont - (Youtube Link)
Vermont GHSP - Be A Planner (Audio File)
VTrans Gives Go Ahead for New Lane Configuration on Barre-Montpelier Road
Kevin Marshia, VTrans Chief Engineer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2016
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- August 10, 2016--The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is moving forward with the final lane configuration aka “Road Diet” on the Barre-Montpelier Road in Berlin. As part of a resurfacing project, VTrans has reduced the travel lanes from two-lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction with center left turn lanes. Designated bike lanes were also added to the corridor. This configuration has already been implemented in Norwich, Williston and Burlington, and has been identified by the Federal Highway Administration as a proven safety countermeasure. National data shows a 19-47% reduction in crashes where this approach is used.
“Just as with roundabouts and rumble stripes, this new lane configuration is going to require a period of adjustment for road users,” said VTrans Chief Engineer, Kevin Marshia. “We will continue to monitor the road over time to improve performance and identify further opportunities to make this corridor safer”.
The project called for a monitoring period of the new lane configuration which started on June 3, 2016 and ended August 2nd, 2016. Traffic volumes, speed, congestion and safety data was collected and evaluated. Customer surveys were also sent out pre-construction and post-construction and public comment was collected through local outreach efforts. Educational materials are currently being created for road users on how to navigate the new lane configuration.
With the assistance of public feedback and field observations, VTrans was able to identify areas that needed modifications. To relieve delays at the Berlin State Highway/US 302 intersection, the eastbound designated right turn lane on US 302 was restored. Further, the westbound US 302 left turn lane was also adjusted at this intersection so trucks turning west off the Berlin State Highway had more space to navigate the turn.
Once the new lane configuration is complete and construction has ended, VTrans will perform a speed study along the corridor. Traffic signal retiming and phasing will also occur post construction to look for opportunities to optimize the operation of the signals.
Night paving and line striping with the new configuration will begin the week of August 15th. The majority of the paving and line striping will occur at night between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am. Miscellaneous line striping and paving of side road and driveway entrances may occur during daytime work hours.
More information on Road Diets can be found at http://vtrans.vermont.gov/highway/local-projects/bike-ped/road-diet
GHSP Launches 2016 Work Zone Safety Enforcement Effort
Scott Davidson, Vermont Governor's Highway Safety Program Chief.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 8th, 2016
MONTPELIER, Vt.--The Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are pleased to announce the start of the 2016 Work Zone Safety Enforcement Project. This statewide initiative is a collaborative partnership between the Vermont Sheriff’s Association (VSA) and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) designed to enhance safety in work zones, specifically through speed and distracted driving enforcement.
Vermont’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) classifies work zone safety as an area of significant emphasis. Work zones are inherently more hazardous for motorized and non-motorized traffic due to incidents of drivers not adhering to speed reduction warnings and driving distracted. Work zone safety is not only a Vermont concern, but nationally as well. In 2013, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported 67,523 traffic crashes occurred in work zones across the country. Of those crashes, 527 were fatal crashes resulting in 579 fatalities. While Vermont typically experiences a lower number of work zone crashes (251 from 2010 to 2014), an increased number of workers and motorists are injured in Vermont work zones every year.
The GHSP will be sub-awarding each County Sheriff Department (CSD) funds to be used for speed and distracted driving enforcement in select work zones across the state. Working in partnership with the VSA, VTrans will utilize a pre-risk assessment tool to determine the high-risk work zone projects and coordinate with the VSA to deploy CSD deputies for enforcement.
VTrans is excited about working with the VSA to improve safety in our state’s work zones. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me, Scott Davidson (GHSP) at email@example.com / (802)279-4006 or Sheriff Bill Bohnyak (Orange County) at firstname.lastname@example.org / (802) 685-4875. Bruce Nyquist (VTrans) at email@example.com / (802) 498-7125.
Press Release: July 26th, 2016
Police use digital signs to catch speeders
ESSEX, Vt. - Police are expanding their technology to monitor speeds on the roads of Essex.
New special speed signs have built-in radars to let drivers know how fast they're going and record and upload that data. The speeds are uploaded via cell data to a cloud server, where police can later review it and keep track of problem spots.
"It will tell me when the officers need to be out there, when the greatest speed problems are and it allows us to prioritize our resources," said Sgt. Rob Hall with the Essex Police Department.
The signs have detected speeds as high as over 80 mph.
Essex’s speed signs were financed by the Governor’s Highway Safety program.
Press Release: July18th, 2016
State launches new road safety campaign
BURLINGTON, Vt. - It's a warning from the state of Vermont to their drivers emphasizing the most tragic consequences.
It's fairly routine now; the state of Vermont warns its drivers that distracted driving can lead to serious accidents and a new campaign began Monday.
"Yo, where are you?"
That's the question a distracted driver often can't answer when they are on the road.
A new PSA is the latest from the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance to discourage drivers from using their phone.
"Your first offense is $160, your second is $360," said Officer Chris Hoar, Northfield Police Department.
Hoar has responded to three crashes caused by distracted drivers in the past month and two of them involved injuries.
"The consequences can be a whole lot greater if someone's distracted for just a second to three seconds. It's quite possible that someone could have traveled the distance of a football field in that time," said Hoar.
If you drive 55 miles an hour, in the time it takes you to send a three second text you'll have already traveled 80 yards, nearly the length of a football field.
"We still see a number of drivers on our highways that are still driving, talking on a cellphone and distracted by other means," said Scott Davidson, Governor's Highway Safety Program.
In 2014, 404 Americans died in crashes where a driver was using their cellphone. Traveling fast enough to cover the length of a football field in three seconds, gives drivers little margin for error.
"A lot of departments are taking a zero tolerance policy," said Hoar.
To avoid a tragic mistake making a simple game of basketball someone's last.
Data from the United States Department of Transportation shows drivers in the twenties are the boldest on the road.
Drivers 15 to 19 are more cautious on the road. 13 percent of them admit to using their cell. As for 20 somethings, 39 percent use their phone. By the time drivers are age 50 or above, just 9 percent say they're distracted by their cellphone
Distracted Driving Identified as Critical Emphasis Area for Highway Safety in Vermont
Scott Davidson, Vermont Governor's Highway Safety Program Chief.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18th, 2016
Distracted driving has been identified by the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA) as a Critical Emphasis Area for highway safety in Vermont http://vermonthighwaysafety.org/about-us/strategic-highway-safety-plan/. Distracted driving is any activity, whether visual, manual, or cognitive, that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. As portable technology becomes increasingly popular, attention to this emphasis area needs to be heightened to better understand the correlation between technology use, distracted driving, and major crashes. One of the strategies identified by the VHSA to reduce major crashes is to increase driver’s awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving. On Monday, July 18, 2016, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will begin a new Distracted Driving Campaign. Attached is the associated video production, radio and banner ad.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), distraction contributes to more than 5,000 traffic fatalities each year. www.AAAFoundation.org/distracted-driving
In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 10% of fatal crashes and 18% of injury crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812260
To prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
- Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.
This campaign was developed in partnership with the GHSP, VHSA and HMC Advertising in Richmond, Vermont.
See the GHSP Website Media page for the new Distracted Driving Campaign 2016 video. TV PSA - http://ghsp.vermont.gov/content/media-and-monthly-newsletters
WVNY-TV; WFFF-TV News
Press Release: July 7th, 2016
Vermont State Police Debut New Radar Technology
Williston, Vt. Vermont State Police troopers were brushing up on the ins-and-outs of some new technology Thursday.
Troopers from ten barracks across Vermont were in Williston learning about new radar speed trailers. VSP will deploy those across the state.
The new models help control traffic speed, but also allow law enforcement to collect more in-depth data related to speed and speed-induced crashes. VSP says the data will help law enforcement better police the state.
"We can't be everywhere doing speed enforcement. Deploying these in areas where we've seen problems of speed, particularly speed involving crashes was going to be our priority. That was going to be our priority. It was very important for us to get these out for the summer driving months in conjunction with operation strive that's on going," said Vermont State Police Lieutenant John Flannigan.
Vermont State Police were able to get the ten radar trailers thanks to a $60-thousand Governor's Highway Safety Program grant. Those units will be deployed within the week.
Published with permission of WVNY-TV; WFFF-TV - © 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting
WCAX News Series "Dangerous Roads"
Press Release: July 5th, 2016
All day media blitz for "Staying safe this summer" - WCAX
Press Release: July 1st, 2016 (SOUND FILE)
Vermont GHSP - Glen Button -WEEI Radio July 1st RedSox vs. Angels @ Fenway
Sgt. Allen Fortin, Shelburne Police Department.
Press Release: June 27th, 2016
Vermont, New England, and Across the Country
This Friday is the start of one of biggest Holiday weekends of this summer. Our first one, Memorial Day, left us with 5 fatalities. We do not want to see the Fourth of July weekend turn out that way.
The American Automobile Association, (AAA), estimates that 41.9 million Americans will travel over the July 4th holiday, the most in eight years.
Friday July 1st at 09:30 we will be hosting a Press conference at the Randolph southbound rest area on Interstate 89.
The Vermont Truck and Bus Association will be joining All Vermont Law Enforcement (VSP, DMV, Local police and County Sheriff’s), Governors Highway Safety, and our Federal Partners in trying to get the message out to BUCKLE UP.
The Vermont Truck and Bus Association, has committed to putting this message out, not only in Vermont, but in all areas where they do business as in Vermont, New England, and across the country. They will be putting Click It or Ticket signs on the rear of all their vehicles. You will not be able to travel the highways without seeing this sign on the back of every Big Rig.
All Vermont Law Enforcement will be enforcing Aggressive Driving, Speeding, Distracted Driving and Impaired Operation during this period. These behaviors are the leading causes of serious injury and fatal crashes. For those motorists we encounter, wearing your seat belt will NOT be optional.
Vermont Highway Safety Alliance
Press Release: June 27th, 2016
Staying safe this summer - VHSA on WCAX
BURLINGTON, Vt. - It's been a sad start to the summer driving season; 31 people have lost their lives on Vermont's highways. So what can be done about making our roads safer?
Glen Button, the chair of Vermont Highway Safety Alliance joined us this morning to talk summer safety.
This Thursday, we will dedicate the entire day to keeping you safe with our series, the Drive for Summer Safety.
Join us from sunrise to sunset; every newscast will have a special report beginning at 5 a.m. and ending at 11 p.m
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
Press Release: June 7th, 2016
Vermont State Police Kick off Operation S.T.R.I.V.E. (Safe Travel on Roads In Vermont Everyday)
June 7, 2016 - Starting today and running through Labor Day, the Vermont State Police will be increasing enforcement efforts focusing on speed and aggressive driving on all state roadways. Called Operation STRIVE (Safe Travel on Roads In Vermont Everyday), the goal is to deter and identify hazardous violations that increase the risk of motor vehicle crashes.
So far in 2016, Vermont has seen 30 people die in traffic incidents. This is a considerable increase is motor vehicle deaths compared to the last three year average at this time of year. Many of these collisions involve hazardous violations like speeding, lack of seatbelt use, distracted and impaired driving.
Vermont State Police Director Colonel Matthew Birmingham said, “While the role of law enforcement is keeping the public safe, this is also a matter of personal responsibility. We ask that all who get behind the wheel remember that our children, our parents, our friends and neighbors, all share the road with you. Please choose to keep them and yourself, safe. Most, if not all of these crashes are preventable. Our goal is to reduce crashes and strive for zero lives lost.”
In Operation STRIVE, VSP troopers will be working collaboratively with other state, county and local law enforcement agencies in high visibility enforcement to reduce overall crashes on our highways. The Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are providing support and funding for this campaign.
Lieutenant John Flannigan, VSP Traffic Operations commander, will be coordinating Operation Strive. For more information, please contact him at 802-872-4045 or John.Flannigan@vermont.gov
Northfield Police Department
Press Release: May 26 at 2:35pm
Today the Northfield Police Department was joined by the Central Vermont Click it or Ticket Task Force. The Governor's Highway Safety program sponsors a National Click it or Ticket campaign between May 23rd and June 5th. Today the task force consisted of Officers and Deputies from The Washington and Orange County Sheriff's Office and our neighbors the Berlin Police Department.
Thanks guys for helping to keep Northfield safe!!
Vermont GHSP / NHTSA
WCAX Press Release: May 24th, 2016
2016 Campaign kickoff “Click It of Ticket..”
Vermont., New York police board Lake Champlain ferry to reinforce safe driving
Press Release: April 5th, 2016
On 4-1-16 at about 2342 hours, Thomas Worden age 21, of Waterbury Center, VT was arrested for DUI. An Officer was working under the Governor's Highway Safety Program conducting high visibility traffic enforcement. The Officer observed Worden's vehicle traveling above the posted speed limit in Northfield Falls and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Worden continued to travel above the speed limit and eventually lost control of his vehicle, which slid off of the road in Riverton. Worden initially ran from the scene, but returned shortly after that. Worden was screened for DUI and later transported to the Northfield Police Department for processing. He was released with a citation to appear in Washington County Court on April 21, 2016
VTrans to Use Message Boards to Report Weekly Traffic Deaths
Press Release: April 5th, 2016
MONTPELIER, Vt.—April 5, 2016--The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is joining a growing group of states including Tennessee and Colorado in using variable message boards to report on highway fatalities and provide important highway safety reminders. Beginning tomorrow and continuing every Wednesday, the network of electronic signs will display the current number of people who have lost their lives on Vermont’s highways this year. Unfortunately, that number changes nearly every week.
“Most highway deaths are preventable and can clearly be connected with driver behavior,” said VTrans Chief Engineer, Kevin Marshia. “Speed, distraction, wearing seat belts and not driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are all things that driver can control and we hope that this sobering reminder will help everyone become more aware of the consequences of these behaviors. Every highway death is a tragedy for families and communities and we need to do everything we possibly can to stop this.”
The same message will also be shared via social media channels every Wednesday. Information about crashes on Vermont highways is published weekly at highwaysafety.vermont.gov.
VTrans has also created a new application for exploring data on locations and causes of crashes. The Public Query Crash Data Tool allows users to search by road, cause, date, time of day and a number of other variables and displayed using a google map and street view interface at http://apps.vtrans.vermont.gov/CrashPublicQueryTool/.
Press Release: February 2016