Press-Republican

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April 19, 2014

Cross-border agencies team up to promote safe driving

LACOLLE, Quebec — State police from Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and Maine are joining with Canadian law enforcement in an effort to increase safe-driving practices as the travel season begins.

Specifically, the Safety With Borders campaign aims to decrease aggressive driving, impaired driving, seat-belt violations and distracted driving.

‘ACTIVE PARTNERSHIP’

“The fact that you have to be a safe driver doesn’t stop at the border,” Surete du Quebec Capt. Paul Leduc said at a press conference Friday in a parking lot just north of the Champlain Port of Entry in Quebec.

The active partnership between agencies is a relatively new initiative.

“Ten years back, that was something we were not thinking of,” he said.

While the effort is concentrated on safe driving, cooperation among jurisdictions goes beyond vehicle and traffic laws, said Vermont State Police Lt. Garry Scott, who works in the traffic and crash-reconstruction units.

Copper and scrap-metal thieves often will steal materials in Vermont and cross into New York or vice versa, Scott said, citing a common example of interstate crime.

Regardless of the offense, however, crimes committed in Vermont will typically involve a motor vehicle, he said.

CELLPHONE USE

Cellphone tickets have become one of the most commonly issued traffic violations in Troop B, said New York State Police Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman.

It is also illegal to use cellphones for talking or texting while driving in Vermont, New Hampshire, Quebec and Ontario.

Last year, Surete du Quebec wrote 15,000 tickets related to cellphone use, Leduc said.

“It’s a growing problem.”

MOVE OVER LAW

New York State Police Troop B Capt. Brent Gillam said the warmer weather may bring out newly licensed drivers who aren’t as experienced or familiar with the law.

“The Move Over Law really is of paramount importance,” he said.

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