Vermont State Police crackdown on ‘move over law’

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Vermont State Troopers perform traffic stops every day. It’s a dangerous task, especially along a busy I91.

“It all comes down to space, they didn’t leave me a whole lot of room there and given that we are on the interstate I try to go to the passenger side if possible,” said Trooper Tyler Silva.

Silva was joined by another trooper during Friday’s ‘surge patrol’ near White River Junction. Their job was to stop drivers not moving over as they pass by. It’s a law that requiring people to move into the left lane when there are emergency vehicles on the shoulder.

Silva said, “When you talk to them, they understand that it’s a law, they understand why it’s an issue and they still don’t move over.”

It comes with a hefty consequence, five points on your license and a $249.

“It’s not just to protect us… Anybody with either their four-way hazards on, emergency vehicles or a plow truck it could be anybody that they need to move over for,” said Silva.

Speed and aggressive driving continues to be a big problem on Vermont roadways, according to state police it contributed to 47% of the state’s fatal crashes last year.

“You can have the music going, you can have your iPad, your iPhone and you have all this music available to you and media so I think people are really comfortable within their vehicles so that is a distracted element,” said Lt. Robert Giolito, Vermont DMV Enforcement.

Seat belts, another focus for troopers Friday. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, there is an 84% seat belt use rate in Vermont but law enforcement say it could be better.

“I like to think of the seat belts as your last line of defense if everything else has gone wrong and you are involved in a crash the seat belt is what can save your life,” said Bill Jenkins, Governor’s Highway Safety Program and retired state trooper.

All things to consider while hitting the road this holiday weekend.

“Local officers, sheriff’s deputies, state police, DMV officers and everyone is going to be out enforcing the laws… We’re just hoping for folks to have a safe holiday and not end in tragedy,” said Capt. Michael Manley, Vermont State Police.

State police say 178 drivers were stopped Friday, 26 tickets and 17 warning were issued for people not moving over.

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