With 75 fatal crashes this year, Vermont officials are asking all drivers to seriously consider the safety of their driving habits. Last year, Vermont had 51 deaths so they’re making an effort to educate the public on driving habits that may save their life. The three biggest things officials are touting include slowing down, buckling up and avoiding driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Out of the 75 crashes, 33 people weren’t properly restrained and 45 people were driving under the influence. One third of the accidents involved speeding. Compared to some states, this number may sound low but you have to look at the overall population compared with other states. Numbers aside, every life has a value and Vermont is trying to keep its citizen safe this holiday season but that can only be effective if the driver makes the right decision.
The Basic Rules of Safe Driving
Vermont says “Slow Down!”
If one third of those deadly accidents involved speeding, it makes you wonder how many lives could have been saved if the vehicle wasn’t traveling at such excessive speeds. Some drivers don’t think twice about going over the posted limit but they should. Based on statistics from the National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), speeding is a factor in 31% of all fatal crashes. For every mile per hour over the speed limit your chances of being in an accident climb and as that number gets higher, your accident chances grow exponentially.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, “Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes.” It couldn’t be put in plainer terms. Also, as if not causing a serious accident isn’t motivation enough, receiving multiple speeding tickets or even one can raise your insurance premiums. Insurance companies base your rate on driving history and if you continue to get violations, not only will premiums rise but you could also risk cancellation of your entire policy.
Vermont says “Wear Your Seatbelt!”
Out of the 75 that was fatally injured in Vermont, 33 were not properly restrained. If they were wearing their seatbelt, could have they lived? That is a question that will never be answered but the safety that a seatbelt provides has been proven time and time again. If you are in an accident, a seatbelt holds your body in place. Were it not there, you could tumble around inside your car if it rolls down an embankment. If you slam into another object such as another car or a pole, your seatbelt can keep you from flying through the windshield or being slammed into the dashboard.
Young people are especially guilty of not wearing seatbelts. The NHTSA reported that out of the number of fatal crashes where people aged 13-15 were involved, 70% were not wearing seatbelt. This is an unacceptable number and states have made an effort to cut down on people that choose not to buckle. It is illegal in Vermont to not wear a seatbelt but it is considered a secondary offense. This means that you have to be pulled over for another violation before you can receive a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. Just think of it as that little something extra. And then your insurance company, also wanting to ride on the giving train, will more than likely raise your premium.
In states where not wearing a state belt is a primary offense, you can expect your premiums to raise maybe a few percentage points but a secondary offense ticket can be harsher. Since it is combined with another violation, your insurance company sees the multiple risks you are taking. Of course, if this is the first offense will be weighed upon an insurer’s decision versus if this is the fifth ticket you have received in a year. You can always fight a speeding ticket but if you are convicted and pay the fine, you must be prepared to deal with the consequences.
Vermont says “Call a Taxi!”
In the majority of the fatal crashes that occurred in Vermont, law enforcement could positively point to the cause of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Anyone that has had one too many drinks can attest to the disabling tendencies alcohol has on someone with even the best tolerance.. Although some drunks may deny it, alcohol is a depressant and slows down normal brain functions. Some of the symptoms can include impaired vision, reduced reaction time, difficulty in understanding information, and lapse of judgment. Each one of these skills is very important when it comes to operating a vehicle.
Also, if you are driving under the influence, it is more likely you will indulge in other unsafe behaviors such as those listed above. Most drugs can have similar effects, whether a depressant or stimulant. All states have a minimum alcohol level that is allowed in the bloodstream but for most people, even one drink will surpass this. If you are pulled over while intoxicated, you will more than likely spend the night in jail and get charged with a DUI or a DWI, depending on your state and impairment of choice.
A DUI/DWI is very expensive. Not only will you have to pay the state fees and penalties, you will probably have to procure a lawyer and then deal with your insurance company. Your rates will more than likely skyrocket and depending on your driving history the insurance company even has the right to cancel your policy.
Want to Drive Safely? You Should Listen to Vermont
The basic tenants of safe driving are not very hard to understand. If you fail to obey them though, the legal and insurance market can become very complicated and this is one of the best things that can happen to you if you choose to disregard safety. By slowing down, wearing your seatbelt and calling a taxi or sober friend when you’ve had too many drinks could possibly save your life and prevent you from endangering someone else.