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Speed Enforcement In Vermont Declined In 2018

A stretch of road in Plymouth, Vermont, with a 35 miles per hour speed limit sign on the right and a car approaching in the distance.
Emily Corwin
/
VPR
A stretch of Route 100 in Plymouth, Vt., with a 35-mph speed limit.

Vermont law enforcement officers filed fewer traffic tickets in 2018 than the year before, marking the first decline in three years, according to the Vermont Judiciary.  Money collected from traffic fines in 2018 also declined — even more steeply than the number of tickets issued. 

Last year, Vermont towns received a total of $1.7 million from traffic tickets, down 15 percent from the previous year, and the lowest sum since 2006, according to town payment data from the Agency of Administration.

This suggests officers may be less punitive even when they do write tickets.

Last spring, VPR investigated speed enforcement in Vermont and identified the three towns that generated the most money from traffic fines: Bridgewater, Plymouth and Mount Tabor.

READ: VPR'S INVESTIGATION INTO VERMONT SPEED ENFORCEMENT

Mount Tabor, which employs a part-time officer for speed enforcement, recorded drops both in the number of tickets issued (15 percent over the fiscal year) and the sum of fines collected (29 percent over the calendar year.)

Bridgewater and Plymouth contract the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department for speed enforcement services. While enforcement appears to have increased in Bridgewater, the haul from fines collected in Plymouth declined in 2018 by 11 percent.

Michael Chamberlain, the sheriff in Windsor County, said he and his officers have not changed their practices. “I think it’s just people are more aware that there is pretty strict enforcement in both the town of Plymouth and the town of Bridgewater,” he said, “and they’re trying to be more careful so they don’t end up getting a ticket.”

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