Operation Summer H.E.A.T.

Vermont State Police & Governor’s Highway Safety Program

July 2, 2012


Operation Summer H.E.A.T. to Combat the Disturbing Increase of Traffic Fatalities in Vermont

Lt. John Flannigan, Vermont State Police Traffic Safety Commander, 802-872-4048
Ted Minall, Chief Governor's Highway Safety Program, 802-241-5509

Waterbury, VT – 7/2/12 – The Vermont State Police are preparing to initiate a statewide traffic enforcement campaign based on a carefully focused analytical review of the 37 crashes that have killed 42 people in Vermont during the first six months of 2012. And while the latest iteration of crash data points to the seemingly random nature of the fatal crash indicators, we know that excessive speed is a causation factor in several crashes. 

To help combat the epidemic of serious and fatal crash rates of 2012, the Vermont State Police through funding from Governor Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will be kicking off 63 days of Operation Summer H.E.A.T. (High Enforcement Area Team) from July 4 – September 3, 2012.

Vermont has experienced a disturbing increase of deadly crashes during the past six months. The hard reality is that 50% of this year’s fatalities have been unbelted, 12 of those operators appear to have been impaired by either alcohol or other substances; and 10 were directly caused by excessive speed. In recent years highway fatalities have been reduced by about 25% nationwide. And last year’s 55 roadway deaths in Vermont were the lowest since 1944.

Lt. John Flannigan, Vermont State Police Traffic Safety Commander, remarked, “We’ve made great strides saving lives through enforcement, education, engineering safer roads and an improved ability to render medical aid immediately following a crash; however we have to work harder and more effectively in working towards zero deaths on Vermont roadways. ”

For the rest of the summer, the motoring public can expect to see more state, county and local law enforcement officers working in the specific areas that have been identified as having higher crash rates.  Analysts will continue to monitor data on a daily basis to evaluate where and when the deployment of enforcement resources will provide the most significant impact. 

Ted Minall, GHSP Chief, joins the rest of the law enforcement community in reminding the public, “Speed limits posted on the interstate and on those routes they patrol will be strictly enforced in direct response to the dynamic increase in roadway tragedies so for this year.”

The Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn urges Vermonters to, “Please use common sense. It isn’t worth risking your life just to get somewhere in a hurry. Slow down, or you will get stopped, or you may pay the price for speeding.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released a statistical projection of traffic fatalities in 2011 shows that an estimated 32,310 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decline of about 1.7 percent as compared to the 32,885 fatalities that occurred in 2010.  Historically about 30% of all roadway fatalities are speed related, meaning more than 9,600 people were killed in the United States in crashes involving excessive speed.

It is well established that speeding tickets substantially increase the cost of automobile insurance and more importantly it is well chronicled that speed increases the likelihood of being involved in an crash. The cost of speeding is just too great, slow down and get there safe or you will feel the Summer H.E.A.T.