BENNINGTON — State Police say that as of Monday, there have been 48 traffic fatalities in Vermont this year, a number they do not wish to see rise this holiday season.

State Police announced they would be stepping up patrols as part of the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, and Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort from Wednesday through Nov. 29.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said Monday that his agency will be participating, using Vermont Governor's Highway Safety funds to pay for additional officers to be on duty conducting saturation patrols and direction patrols.

Saturation patrols are where an officer patrols the town in general. Directed patrols are where an officer watches a certain area.

Doucette said that Wednesday is one of the biggest travel days of the year, nationwide, and Bennington is no different. He said Northside Drive experiences most of Bennington's traffic.

Bennington Police, along with surrounding agencies, will also conduct a safety checkpoint this week. Doucette said the goal will be to encourage safe driving habits such as not using cell phones or other hand-held electronics while behind the wheel.

He said the department has been awarded $67,000 this year through the Governor's Highway Safety Grant program to perform anti-DUI patrols and checkpoints as well as driver safety. This pays for officers' time and mileage on police vehicles.

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115