Vermont officials seek to install road narrowing barriers on Smuggler’s Notch

For years the narrow Smuggler’s Notch road (Vermont Route 108) has posed a significant issue for Vermont law enforcement when a tractor trailer attempts to navigate over the top of the notch. The common result for these incursions is a five figure ticket for failing to comply with the numerous signs that lead up to the notch advising truckers that their vehicle will not fit.

As a result of the ongoing safety concern, the Vermont Agency of Transportation have approved a plan to install barriers on both approaches to the notch in a further effort to deter any trucks that attempt to illegally brave the hairpin turns and narrow shoulders.

These barriers, according to VT Digger, will be installed in the spring of 2024 when the road reopens for the season. The notch road closes down during the winter months.

The barriers were a result of a study commissioned by the State and public input. Other options that were discussed were installing a roundabout or height restriction archways.

This effort is in response to the trucks that have gone past the warning signs and have become stuck on the approach. In 2023, 4 such incidents have occurred, which is a downward departure from 2022 which saw 5 and 2021 which endured 6 incidents.

Smuggler’s Notch has always been one of Vermont’s treasures, which holds a combination of ruggedness and beauty. However, for those looking to make a living by navigating the narrow Vermont roads, Smuggler’s Notch is not one to be played with. Given the extensive efforts by the State to keep commercial trucks off the route, it is easy to assume that the penalties for a violation will only continue to rise.

Mitigate your rising insurance rates by contesting your Vermont traffic ticket

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, motorists have been as much as a 41% increase in their auto insurance rates over the past year, with an anticipated 5-10% increase expected in 2024. These increases have been tacked on to all drivers, not just those who have a less than stellar driving history. Based on an insurers calculation of a driver’s perceived risk, which is heavily dependent on one’s driving record, these rates could be expected to rise even more should there be civil or criminal convictions for driving offenses, laying even more importance on attempting to mitigate or eliminate this risk by contesting each and every Vermont traffic offense you face.

“”Our clients have voiced an increasing concern on the degree their insurance rates will be impacted based on even one traffic ticket in the last 2 years,” said Managing Partner, Evan Chadwick of the law firm of Chadwick and Spensley PLLC. “However, with these increased concerns, we have also begun to see an increase in the rate we are able to successfully negotiate or argue for dismissal in our cases, to the benefit of our client.”

In order for a driver to contest their Vermont traffic ticket they must contest it within 21 days of issuance. If they fail to do so, they face being found in default and a judgment being issues against them. If the ticket is for speeding or another moving violation such as a stop sign or failure to move over, these blemishes can have an adverse impact on insurance above and beyond the already skyrocketing rates that even the safest of drivers are now facing.