Safety officials call the trend disturbing; in the first six months of 2012, twice as many people have died on Vermont roads compared to last year.
"Our statistics here in Vermont this year are really abysmal," DMV Commissioner Rob Ide said.
Ide says 42 people have been killed in crashes this year: five on interstates, 11 on U.S. routes and 26 on secondary roads. Police say January has been the deadliest month, Sunday the deadliest day and 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. the deadliest hours.
Highway officials say these statistics are a staggering blow since touting 2011 as one of Vermont's safest driving years on record.
"This year has told us that last year was the anomaly," Ide said. "This year we are back on track to mirror the statistics of previous years."
Police say half of the 42 victims were not wearing seat belt, one-third of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and a quarter of the fatal crashes were caused by excessive speed.
"For those of you who think there's a speed tolerance in Vermont, time to reconsider. There was a directive that went out from my office today to the state troopers," Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said.
Over the next 60 days state and local police are teaming up to crack down on speeders. Traveling even 1 mph over the posted speed limit will make you a candidate for a ticket.
Reporter Jennifer Reading: Was there a tolerance for speed before this directive?
Keith Flynn: I think probably. I think every officer probably has their own tolerance, but now the tolerance is the one posted on the speed limit signs.
For the rest of the summer, police plan to set up speed traps in every corner of the state, which means many more drivers will be ticketed for pushing the limits. Police say they'll also use the stops to check for seat belts. The state is at an 85 percent compliance rate.
"Please, if you know anyone who doesn't wear their seat belt, just beat them up to wear their seat belt. Because we are after those 93,000 people who don't wear their seat belts, because if they did, I don't think we would have 42 fatalities so far," said Ted Minall of the Governor's Highway Safety Program.
Buckling up, and slowing down-- two of the easiest ways to save lives.
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Friday, May 24 2013 9:58 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:58:10 GMT
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Thursday, May 23 2013 7:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:44:21 GMT
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