Region reels from rash of deadly head-on crashes

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:04 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont authorities are monitoring a concerning traffic trend. There have been eight fatal head-on collisions so far this year, six of them this month alone.

Law enforcement officials say they are seeing reckless driving both on and off the Interstate. “There’s a lot of irresponsibility going on with people driving cars on roadways, you know, and it’s pretty sad,” said Rutland County Sheriff Lt. Kevin Geno, who has been in law enforcement for 47 years. He says there are four major factors that lead to fatal head-on crashes. “Most of it is because of impairment, speed, distraction, and not wearing a seatbelt.”

The number of fatal crashes in Vermont this year is still pacing around average through the first few months. with 21 fatal crashes that resulted in 24 people dead.

VTrans’ Mandy Shatney says that in more than 55% of those fatalities, people weren’t wearing seatbelts. “Unbelted is a major problem in our state right now in terms of fatal crashes. We have a great rate as far as people wearing their seat belts generally but those people who do not wear their belts and get into crashes are more susceptible to being seriously injured or killed,” she said.

Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer for many and Lt. Geno says warmer months are when most fatal crashes happen. He says it’s concerning how many people are crossing the center line causing the devastating crashes. “You deal with the carnage at the scene. It’s not the vehicles that ever bother me, it’s the people inside the vehicles, it’s the loss of life, it’s the injuries, and some of these injuries are permanent,” he said.

Geno says don’t drive impaired, put your seat belt on, and treat driving like a full-time job. He says no distraction is worth losing your life or ruining someone else’s. “Let’s have a safe summer. The only way people have got to turn this around, they have got to take responsibility. Yes, law enforcement is going to be out there doing their thing but the drivers have to take responsibility for safe roads. My family counts, your family counts, everybody’s family counts,” he said.

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