Police Reports

Drugged drivers outnumber drunks among Vermont highway fatalities

State highway safety officials are urging Vermonters to drive safe and sober. Last year saw the highest number of traffic deaths in recent years, despite fewer cars being on the road in the early months of the pandemic lockdown.

This year, 74 people have died on Vermont highways, the same as all of last year. More than half suffered from impairment. 11 had THC (cannabis) in their bloodstreams. The number of ‘older drivers’ jumped from 19 last year to 23 so far this year.

Also, operators suspected as driving under the influence of drugs only continue to outnumber drunk-only drivers among Vermont highway fatalities.

The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department and other local Agencies will be conducting Checkpoints between December 16, 2022 and January 1, 2023. The focus is to deter Impaired Driving during the Holiday Season.

As of this press release, 74 people have died in Vermont from traffic crashes. 41 of those operators were under the influence of alcohol and or drugs or both representing 58% of the fatalities. 15 of the fatalities were related to speed and 31 were not properly restrained.

“If you drink alcohol, plan for alternate transportation. Slow down, obey the speed limit, don’t drive distracted and please wear your seat belt. Together we can make this a safe Holiday Season,” state highway official Jennifer Coffin said.

Categories: Police Reports

16 replies »

  1. Still no way to tell if those with “Delta 9 THC” confirmed in their bloodstream at the time of accident were actually “high” at the time of event or +\-30 days before.
    That makes the stat worthless in my opinion.

  2. I have seen people blatantly smoking weed in their cars and I often smell it when the windows are down. Over the past couple years in particular, I have also noticed a lot more issues with folks crossing into opposing lanes, or drifting out of their lane only to jerk it back inside, in an obvious state of inattention. Some I suspect is simply phones or dashboard tablets, but I would assume much of it is drug related.

  3. Interesting that alcohol impaired driving has increased since 2019 (COVID?), while drugged driving is relatively steady.

    • Those aren’t figures for drunk / drugged driving. They’re for fatalities. I guarantee the number of folks driving while high is greatly increased, because I never used to see it or smell it happening, and last Summer it was an almost weekly experience.

  4. If you notice someone going “too slow”, probably marijuana, and certainly nowhere near the same level of threat as alcohol, opioids or playing with phone. You can tell the drunks by the slow drift around the lane and the slow correction and over-correction. The phone zombies tend to drift slowly away from center and make quick corrections, then repeat, as their eyes go from down deep in their lap area then briefly and occasionally back to the real world. The handheld electronics ban may not be the best safety law since now phone zombies keep their digital friend hidden down low to avoid getting a ticket and it takes their eyes even further away from the windshield. Most drug users and mild drunks can make up for their impairment somewhat by heightened attention to the road, but the phone junkies just can’t put the thing down. By my observation, they are the biggest threat on the roads.

  5. So the answer to this DUI issue for our “public servants” in Montpelier was to legalize marijuana and flippantly give “get out of jail free” cards to the vast majority of those who drive recklessly (over 20 mph over the limit), DUI’s, and drug dealers the police nail. Yup, sounds about right, since what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right.

  6. 50% under influence. Were they at fault? Or the other driver if there was one. 50% not under influence . If you smoke 1 time a month pot is in your blood 12 monthes out of the year. ITS THE NEW BLUNDING LIGHTS ON CARS. NOT SAFE!!! HOW MANY WHERE AT NIGHT?

  7. 50% under influence. Were they at fault? Or was the other driver? If there was one. 50% not under influence . Same %. If you smoke 1 time a month pot is in your blood 12 monthes out of the year.
    ITS THE NEW BLUNDING LIGHTS ON CARS. NOT SAFE!!! HOW MANY WHERE AT NIGHT?

  8. I have to agree with the blinding lights. It used to be turn signals and headlights had enough separation that you could see both at distance. Now they have to be close to see them and you have no idea how long they have been on. I know some vehicles have headlines that shut down with activation of a turn signal but do things really have to be this complicated? De we really need to disassemble half of our car to change a lite bulb?Then there are those that think as long as they can see they don’t need to have their lites on. They are so others can see you, not so you can see. We can all agree distracted drivers are a threat. Why do new vehicles have a computer monitor in the middle of the dash? These are my pet peeves.

  9. Upward trend includes “Older Drivers.” As Vermont’s population ages this trend will further escallate. Vermont is one of the few states not requiring testing once a licence is initially issued. I have written my legislators detailing local motorcycle deaths due to inattentive automobile collisions. I was firmly rebuked, surmising geriatric voters overwhelmingly vote for these same legislators. Perhaps having blood on there hands is acceptable, colleterial backlash?

  10. Since the article states that drugged drivers now outnumber drunk drivers, why didn’t state highway official Jennifer Coffin include “or use mariquana” in her notice to drivers in Vermont? Seems like her comment overlooked the rising highway danger of drivers being high on mariquana. However, the stats don’t tell us if non-legal drugs were also involved or the level of mariquana found in a driver’s system. Does “being suspected of” alcohol or drug use indicate that the drivers had a higher limit in their systems than is allowed by law?

    “If you drink alcohol, plan for alternate transportation. Slow down, obey the speed limit, don’t drive distracted and please wear your seat belt. Together we can make this a safe Holiday Season,” state highway official Jennifer Coffin said.

  11. what the heck is mariquana?

    As the politicians are fond of saying: “That’s a very good question.” The answer, however, warrants more than a quick response. Below are some of the possible answers my research has uncovered so take your pick:

    1. It must be a “typo”. This is always a good c/y/a answer.
    2. My spelling checker has been giving me trouble lately. That’s obvious!
    3. The spelling checker on the Vermont Daily Chronicle web site sucks.
    3. I don’t smoke that whacky tobaccy stuff so why should I know how to spell it.
    4. I flunked spelling in school.
    5. I never took Spanish in school.
    6. I live in the NEK of Vermont
    7. I’m an Angry Old White Man, a/k/a Republican.
    8. I was born in 1947.
    9. The folks at the Vermont Daily Chronicle purposely changed my correct spelling to make me look like above #6 & # 7
    10. The “j” on my keyboard has fits of not working so I hit the “g” key and move on.

    It’s possible that state highway official Jennifer Coffin can’t spell it either so maybe that’s why she left it out of her warning to Vermont drivers.

    Guess I found a good way to get noticed. Maybe I should run for a state office.

    Mery Chritmas Dave

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