The roads are getting slippery in Vermont as the State braces for the first snowstorm of the winter season. As a result, motorists driving along the many mountainous Vermont roads will be faced with less than ideal conditions that can increase the risk of an accident taking place. For those electing to travel the roads during a storm, not only is there a risk of being involved in an accident, but, if a Vermont law enforcement officer sees fit, a motorist could face a hefty ticket as well.
What is most curious about many of these tickets is that law enforcement often will base the ticket on the mere fact that an accident took place, with no other witnesses providing testimony of what factors played a role. These “driving too fast for conditions” tickets carry with them a substantial fine as well as several points on one’s license.
The law which officers rely on can be found in 23 VSA 1081(a) which states:
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event speed shall be controlled as necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other object on or adjacent to the highway.
This law is extremely broad and leaves the interpretation of it up to the officer who comes upon the accident. As a result, their impression can be attacked at a traffic ticket hearing especially what evidence they are relying on in making the determination that a violation occurred.
As in many cases along Vermont roads, minor accidents occur even when a motorist is taking all necessary precautions. If there is not enough evidence to support the Vermont traffic ticket, then you have a good chance at convincing a Vermont Judicial Bureau Judge that the ticket holds no merit and should be dismissed.