MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) leaders say they are commending Gov. Tony Evers for his new initiatives to combat reckless driving in Wisconsin.
The governor’s budget announcement on Feb. 10 prioritizes measures to improve Wisconsin’s transportation system and build safer communities, according to a WisDOT news release.
The Evers administration’s 2023-25 budget initiatives include a $60 million commitment to engineering projects that’s designed to increase safety for all road users, $6.5 million for driver education programs and the addition of 45 Wisconsin State Patrol troopers and inspectors to help keep motorists safe.
“We applaud Governor Evers for his leadership to tackle the significant issue of reckless driving. WisDOT is committed to working with our partners across all levels of government, in every corner of the state, to keep people safer on our roads. Together with community members we can prevent the tragedies that result from reckless driving,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said.
According to WisDOT, approximately 2,900 people are injured in reckless driving crashes every year in the state; 119 people were killed by a reckless driver last year in Wisconsin.
Building safer communities
The governor’s $60 million “will improve infrastructure and support communities across Wisconsin to invest in road designs that keep pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers safer,” the news release stated. “This funding will lead to solutions tailored to meet specific community needs, whether in a large city or a rural town. WisDOT continues to work with communities facing reckless driving challenges, including Milwaukee where leaders like Mayor Cavalier Johnson have made reckless driving a top priority. Through a combination of strategies – community partnerships, education, enforcement, and engineering – we can raise awareness and create a safer transportation system for all road users.”
Together with community partners, WisDOT is identifying corridors for improvement, including WIS 175, WIS 190, WIS 181 and National Avenue.
WisDOT is also updating the Connecting Highway policy to develop long-term collaboration with stakeholders to address safety issues.
Changing the culture of reckless driving
WisDOT’s Division of State Patrol continues to partner with local law enforcement agencies to increase visibility and stop risky driving behaviors that make crashes more dangerous. The number of 100-plus mph citations issued by State Patrol rose sharply during the pandemic, from 583 citations in 2019 to 1,403 citations in 2020, according to the news release. “State Patrol officers issued 1,159 100+ mph citations in 2022.”
“The governor’s plan to add new trooper and inspector positions will improve State Patrol’s reach in Wisconsin and continue their efforts to stop dangerous drivers before they cause damage,” the news release noted. “Partnerships are key to addressing the challenges of reckless driving. WisDOT will continue efforts to connect with the community and change the culture of reckless driving through important safety awareness campaigns like Control Your Drive, Buckle Up Phone Down band other enforcement campaigns.”
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