Columbus Day Weekend in Vermont = Increase in Vermont traffic tickets

What was once Columbus day weekend, but now is being adopted as Indigenous Person day in Vermont means a lot of things.  A long weekend for school children and federal employees, Octoberfest at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor and the start of fall cleanup for homeowners.  However, beyond the beers consumed, the leaves raked and the extra morning to sleep in, this weekend officially kicks off the foliage season for Central and Southern Vermont.  As a result, police will be out in force this weekend enforcing traffic laws along all the rural and major roads across the state.

As a fair warning, we are providing some places to be especially mindful of when soaking in the Vermont scenery so that you leave our lovely state with only fond memories and not a traffic violation complaint:

  1.  Route 7:  At times this road can look like a major highway with its passing lanes and long straight stretches of road.  However, the speed limit can vary significantly in therese areas from 55-25 with little warning.  Be especially careful in the towns of Mount Tabor, Bennington and Wallingford, as officers are often stationed in certain areas where the speed limit drops significantly;
  2. Route 30:  The trip from Brattleboro to Manchester winds through the southern Vermont foothills and can be a great drive to soak in all the foliage.  However, traveling though the villages of Jamaica, Newfane, Townshend and Dummerston can also result in viewing the lights of a Windham Sheriff or State Trooper if you get caught staring too much at the mountains instead of the speedometer.
  3. Route 100: Ludlow to Killington:  It is almost a guarantee that the Windsor Sheriff will have heavy patrols out in this area, especially when traveling through the towns of Plymouth, Tyson Corners and Bridgewater.  The speeds can drop from 50mph to 25 mph within a short period of time and officers have been trained to shoot their radar within close proximity to these changes.
  4. I-89 and I-91 Intersection:  Traveling through White River Jct. where the two major highways intersect is a great launching point to many Vermont destinations.  Keep in mind that the speed limit drops to 55 mph in this zone, as what seemed like a safe cruising speed of 70mph can turn into a $175 ticket in no time.


The hardest Vermont speeding ticket to win or reduce

There are certain speeding tickets where the odds are heavily stacked agains the driver facing the violation.  Of these tickets, the violation that takes the proverbial most difficult to defend title, is the speeding in a work zone on an interstate highway violation.  Here is why:

1)  Points:  No matter how fast or slow you are going on the highway, Vermont speeding tickets on the interstate carry with them 2 points.  This means that unless the police officer is willing to dismiss the speeding ticket, then there is no room to negotiate the violation downward to mitigate the damage done.

2)  Fine:  Police officers are authorized to double any speeding violation in a work zone.  As a result of being able to impose such a hefty fine, Vermont State Police, who are customarily the agency who issue these tickets, come to their hearings more often then when dealing with local violations.  They also come more prepared, as they know that a substantial amount of revenue is on the line.

3)  Use of the Lidar radar instead of the Doplar.  Lidar radars are inherently more accurate and easier to use then the Doplar, which is customarily used by local police agencies.  Given that there is no annual maintenance needed on the Lidar, it becomes more difficult to challenge its reliability.

4)  Unwillingness to negotiate:  Given the fact that the points being issued are as low as they can be for a Vermont violation, the steep fine imposed and the severity police officers look at speeding in work zone violations due to the numerous fatal accidents that occur in these zones each year,police are less willing to budge off their position if they feel they have a strong case.  Judges are also more compelled to tack on additional fees if the motorist takes the case to trial and looses.  This puts the motorist at a higher exposure then if they elected to just pay the ticket

If a motorist receives a Vermont speeding ticket in a work zone, they must contemplate all of these issues before determining what is best for them.