Fines to truckers on a Vermont highway increased

If you travel through Vermont, be aware that fines have been increased on one of that state’s mountain highway popular with skiers.

Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont (Photo by Vermont Agency of Transportation)

A law passed recently by the Vermont House and Senate increases fines to truck drivers caught driving on a section of Vermont Route 108 through Smugglers’ Notch. The bill ups the fine for trucks going through Smugglers’ Notch to $1,000, and if a truck gets stuck and impedes traffic, it will be a $2,000 fine. For repeat offenders within a two-year period, the fines will be doubled.

Since 2009, there have been 38 reports of trucks getting stuck with the most recent being May 26. There were four reports of stuck trucks in 2015, and seven in 2014. The most active year for trucks getting stuck in the corridor was 2013, when 10 trucks were reported stuck.

The scenic section of highway connects two ski resorts and goes over the top of a mountain. At the top of the mountain, there is a boulder field with an “extreme turning radius,” according to Col. Jake Elovirta, director of enforcement and safety for the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles. Elovirta said trucks longer than 46 feet have problems navigating through the area, and between two and 10 trucks get stuck each year, despite signs banning trucks from entering the corridor. When a truck gets stuck, the corridor has to be shut down, sometimes for hours, according to Elovirta, and the only recourse is a $162 fine.

The legislation also directs the Vermont Agency of Transportation to put up more signage to try to get drivers’ attention.