State News

Cheryl Murray of Benson wins AOT highway safety message contest

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) announced the winners of the highway safety message contest on Nov. 5. Cheryl Murray, 57, of Benson, submitted the winning entry in the fall round of the contest.

Murray’s message was:  “Don’t take the bait. That text can wait.”

“I thought about writing one of these messages because we have a sign board at Route 22A and Route 4, and I see it all the time,” said Murray, who went to school in Arlington and has lived in Benson since 1989. “I’ve always thought that when a text comes in while you’re driving, it’s tempting to ‘take the bait’ and look at it, when you know you should keep your hands on the wheel.”

Murray will receive a Vermont State Park season vehicle pass, good for unlimited day use at any park throughout 2021.

AOT also announced the winter contest winner. Maria Peña, 30, of Stowe, entered the contest with this message: “No need for speed. You can’t outrun winter.” This original message to slow down during winter driving conditions won over the AOT contest judges, who have awarded it the winter contest prize.

“I’ve been shocked by the speed at which people drive through some winter storms,” said Peña, who has lived in Stowe since 2015. “As a resident of Vermont, I feel grateful for how well our roads are maintained through the winter, and I want to share with everyone that we should stop trying to outrun the storms so we can all reach our final destinations.”

Peña, too, will receive a 2021 Vermont State Park vehicle pass, which she is excited to use as much as possible.

The agency also would like to thank Elle Reid of South Hero for sending in our favorite Thanksgiving message: “Gobble gobble. Go easy on the throttle.” This message will be used again this year during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

A total of 60 people have died on Vermont’s highways this year, according to the latest crash data available. AOT reminds all motorists to drive safely and attentively at all times and to remember to slow down and leave extra time when driving during winter conditions.

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