Thanksgiving Tips: Dining and Driving

Gov. Peter Shumlin poses with Hand in Hand’s Lauren Wilder on the first anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Wilder helped organize a community dinner on the Woodstock Village Green

A couple of Thanksgiving items to share with you….involving dining and driving.

1. For anyone who would like to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with some friendly folks — whether it be you or someone you know — you  are invited to the Unitarian Universalist Church (aka North Chapel Society)  Assembly Hall on Thursday from 3:00 – 5:00 pm for Lauren Wilder’s (and friends) Hand-In-Hand Thanksgiving Dinner. 

Although dining alone can be a fine thing, we like the idea there’s somewhere to go to “make your own par-tay” for anyone who’s just not in a position  to cook or not in a situation to be “Thanksgiving-it-up” with anyone else.

Or, as we know, since we ARE a tourist town with many serving the public for the holidays, maybe you’ll be getting off work and might enjoy a hot meal to brighten your spirit before you head down the road…

2. Down the Road.  Driving. More seriously. Law enforcement both locally — Woodstock Police Department — and Statewide will be enforcing their “Click-it-or-Ticket” seat-belt campaign.  Also watching out for those who might be wildly racing to dinner or wildly racing back home. Here is a press release from Vermont State Police (They have an innovative suggestion: Leave early, give yourself extra time?!)

Thanksgiving Holiday Click it or Ticket

Waterbury, VT – 11/20/2012 – The Thanksgiving holiday opens a busy season for motorists traveling throughout Vermont.  To encourage the motoring public to use their seatbelts, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will be sponsoring a holiday Click It or Ticket (CIOT) enforcement campaign. 

Vermonters can expect to see an increased number of state, county and local law enforcement officers patrolling the state’s roads enforcing occupant protection laws.  GHSP annually manages the CIOT campaigns utilizing federal funds allocated for vehicle occupant protection.

This year’s campaign will begin on Wednesday, November 21st and continue through Sunday, November 25th.

This increased volume of vehicles will include families heading to their holiday destinations as well as shoppers, commuters, and daily traffic that routinely use our roads. 

Those traveling should make sure all occupants are using proper safety restraints while in their vehicles. Officers will be particularly focused on those who are not wearing seatbelts or children not properly secured in safety seats as required by state law.

So far this year, 70 people have lost their lives on Vermont roads. Unfortunately 40 of those killed were not properly restrained. 

The statewide seatbelt usage rate is just over 84%, which is slightly below the national average use rate of 85%. Vermont has deployed the Click It or Ticket model since 2002, and has seen some success, considering the usage rate stood at 67% in 2001.

Tom Fields, the Law Enforcement Liaison for GHSP, emphasizes how important it is to be properly restrained while traveling in a vehicle: “Wearing your seatbelt is the single most important safety device available to anyone riding in a motor vehicle.  Please take that extra second it takes to put on your belt.  It can be difference whether you’re killed, seriously injured, or successfully survive a crash”.

Ted Minall the GHSP Chief, hopes educating the public will encourage them to buckle up. Minall says, “If no tickets are issued during this campaign and police find everyone they stop is buckled up, we’ll have accomplished our goals.  The only purpose of the campaign is saving lives by increasing seat belt use.”

Lieutenant John Flannigan, the Commander of the Vermont State Police Traffic Unit, will be supervising the extra state troopers patrolling the interstates and other roads. Lt. Flannigan asks motorists to, “Slow down, drive with commonsense, leave early for your destination so you don’t have to rush, and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking”.

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