Officials in Vermont are warning truck drivers to stay off of the notorious Smugglers Notch segment of Vermont Route 108 as the road opens for the spring.
On Tuesday, Smugglers Notch (a mountainous portion of Vermont Route 108 located between Cambridge and Stowe) reopened for the season to passenger vehicle traffic only.
Each year, stuck trucks cause major traffic backups on Vermont Route 108 in spite of the fact that there are several signs warning truckers not to enter. Last year, five trucks became stuck on Smugglers Notch. Many of the drivers who get stuck are following GPS directions.
Officials are reminding truck drivers that vehicles over 40 feet in length and combination vehicles over 45 feet in length will become stuck in the tight turns of the Notch.
Vermont law allows for significant fines for truck drivers who illegally use or get stuck on Smugglers Notch. The fine is $1000 for illegal use of Vermont Route 108. The fine doubles to $2000 for trucks that get stuck and significantly block traffic. A second or subsequent violation within a three year period is also subject to double the normal fine.
Stuck trucks have become such a pervasive problem that Vermont lawmakers proposed legislation earlier this year to hold GPS providers accountable when drivers become stuck in Smugglers Notch.