Friday, September 11, 2009 - 9:10am
One Driver Nabbed Going 71 MPH
One officer said several law-abiding citizens actually honked, and yelled out support as the Madison Police Department's (MPD) Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST) made 44 traffic stops in the area of the East Washington Avenue/Highway 30 construction zone Thursday morning. Offending motorists were found going anywhere from 50 miles per hour (mph) to 71 mph in the 35 mph construction zone.
TEST worked westbound lanes in the 3500 block of Highway 30 - just east of Fair Oaks Avenue - for three hours, beginning at 9:45 a.m. Officers indicated even more speeding vehicles could have been stopped, but there were not enough chase cars to go after the large number of lawbreakers.
The MPD is working to change the mindset among some drivers, in what can be a matter of life and death.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, there are nearly 2,000 work zone crashes a year in the Badger State. Sometimes, people die, and those tragedies change lives of everyone left behind: workers, drivers, passengers, families, and friends.
Just this summer, Dane County Highway Department worker Jim Porter was killed while doing highway maintenance.
Distracted drivers cause many of these construction zone collisions. Using a cell phone, eating, reading, are types of activities - often engaged in by drivers - that are especially dangerous, and should be avoided.
Speeding -the focus of Thursday's traffic enforcement - is the other major problem. Construction speed zones are set to allow the maximum safest speed under ideal conditions. There will be conditions where drivers need to slow below the posted speed limit. Danger in these zones comes when drivers become impatient and take risks; driving at speeds that are too fast for conditions. Impatient, frustrated drivers tend to take chances that they might not otherwise take. Speeding prevents a driver from having enough time to react to conditions ahead and is the cause of many of the rear-end collisions and collisions with construction workers by the side of the road. Higher speeds also mean the driver has less control over the vehicle.
Not every construction zone crash involves vulnerable workers, drivers and their passengers are often the ones injured or killed.
The Madison Police Department urges everyone to slow down, drive safely, protect those working on the road, as well as those traveling in your own car.Contacts:
- Joel DeSpain, 266-4897
- Lt. Carl Strasburg, 261-9112