Smarter stops for safer roads

Act Now

All Vermont residents deserve to feel secure in our communities. This includes the freedom to travel where we need to go without experiencing unnecessary interactions with police. Our laws should only allow traffic stops for serious safety violations – not for minor infractions that do not pose a threat to others.

That is why we're asking the Legislature to Pass House Bill 176 or Senate Bill 257. Under this legislation, police would stop drivers only for offenses that could harm others, not for minor equipment and administrative violations. These changes to our traffic laws would reduce discriminatory practices, improve community safety, and better define the role of police in our community.

Drivers in Vermont are overpoliced – pulled over at nearly three times the national average. That amounts to 255 drivers stopped per 1,000 residents, compared to 86 drivers per 1,000 residents nationally, between 2015 and 2019. During that same period, Vermont sheriffs increased their stops by 86 percent, while Vermont State Police upped theirs by nearly 50 percent.

Drivers who are Black and Latinx are disproportionately impacted by over-enforcement on our roadways. From 2015-2019, Black drivers were stopped 80% more often than white drivers and searched at three and a half times the rate, though they were less likely to be found with contraband. Latinx drivers were 26% more likely to be stopped than white drivers, and almost four times more likely to be searched.

Resulting from conscious or unconscious officer bias, Black drivers are more likely than white drivers to be pulled over for low-level violations that do not affect the safety of others, such as a broken taillight or an obscured license plate.

We want the Legislature to pass a "smarter stops" bill as soon as possible. That is why we are asking you to contact your lawmakers and ask them to pass a Smarter Stops bill (H.176 or S.257). The letter below will be sent to your representatives and Senators and can be edited. Please personalize your message to let your elected officials know why this is important to you.

Message Recipients:
Your State Senator
Your State House Representative

[The Form Label field is hidden on ACLU message action forms]
Your Message
Use the form to send a message to your legislator.

I am writing today to ask you to support Smarter Stops legislation (H.176 or S.257). This legislation would reduce unnecessary traffic stops and discriminatory practices on our roadways by only allowing stops for offenses that could harm others - not for minor infractions.

I support this legislation because Vermont drivers should be able to move freely on our roadways without the fear of unnecessary police interactions.

My ask is simple: support legislation that makes a direct impact on racial & economic justice in our state and helps all Vermont residents feel secure in our communities. You can do this by voicing your support of Smarter Stops legislation and voting in favor of H.176/S.257.


[First Name] [Last Name]

Recent participants