By Guy Page
As of May 16, there have been 24 crash fatalities on Vermont’s roads in 2022 – a 33% increase over last year, and a 60% increase over the 10-year average.
There were 18 at this point last year and the 10-year average for this date is 15, state police report.
The 73 traffic fatalities in 2021 were the most in a decade. Vermont State Police told News 5 last December 30 that “speeding, drug and alcohol consumption, and refraining from seat belt use” were the main causes.
Deaths from alcohol and drug abuse were both up in Vermont last year. The shortage of police is well-known. Also, some Vermonters wonder if there is a ‘pandemic effect’ has affected Vermonters’ driving habits.
“I’ve noticed since the pandemic began, people seem to be ignoring traffic laws at a much higher rate,” a South Burlington Vermont Daily Chronicle reader observed today. “The cell phone law especially seems to be largely ignored. As a motorcyclist I am keenly aware of the noncompliance due to being so vulnerable to it. The other day I saw a man turning right on red from Hannaford onto busy Shelburne Road while holding a cell phone to his ear with a dog on his lap. As they say, you can’t make this stuff up.”
Vermont’s highway fatality woes are part of a national crisis.
Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.
“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, now being implemented, will spend up to $6 billion over five years to fund local efforts to reduce roadway crashes and fatalities. It advances ‘Complete Streets’ policies and standards; requires updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which defines speeds, lane markings, traffic lights and more on most roads in the country; and increases funding for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which helps states adopt data-driven approaches to making roads safer.
Categories: Police Reports