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In Vermont, A Driver's License Suspension Can Lead To Bigger Problems

Two hands grip a steering wheel.
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Patrick Lovett has been reporting on license suspensions in Vermont for the Caledonian-Record. He said southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom have the highest rates of license suspensions in Vermont, with the latter averaging 1 in 10 adult drivers.

Getting a speeding ticket is not an uncommon experience. But for a growing number of Vermonters, that ticket can snowball to the loss of a driver's license, which can then mean loss of employment and eviction from their home.

Patrick Lovett has been reporting on license suspensions in Vermont for the Caledonian-Record.

Lovett said Vermont has one of the top six driver’s license suspension rates in the country, citing a Washington Post report from earlier this year. He said southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom have the highest rates of license suspensions in the state, with the latter averaging 1 in 10 adult drivers.

And in his reporting for the Caledonian-Record, Lovett described the chain reaction that played out for one person in the Northeast Kingdom following a license suspension.

Listen above to Lovett's conversation with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb. Read Lovett’sCaledonian-Record article here.

The Vermont Legislature has made efforts to reduce the number of license suspensions, but Lovett said it remains a problem. He said diversion programs, which allow drivers to have their license reinstated while they pay into a monthly plan or engage in community service, appear to be effective.

However, Lovett said, awareness about diversion programs is still low. He said Vermonters can contact local authorities to find a diversion office in their area.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Bayla joined VPR in 2018 as the producer for Morning Edition. She left in 2019.
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