Brown County Sheriff’s Office running out of options to slow drivers in work zones

The sheriff's office says it's running out of options to slow down speeders
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 4:49 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 10:47 PM CST
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BELLEVUE, Wis. (WBAY) - The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says it’s running out of options to protect construction workers from speeding drivers. Deputies say too many drivers are ignoring work zone signs and are endangering road workers.

Every year, Wisconsin sees 2,500 crashes involving speeding, tailgating and/or distracted driving in work zones.

Many drivers keep an eye out for construction workers in the springtime when road work ramps up, but these workers maintain our roads year-round and they feel in other seasons drivers are not as cautious. Cars zip right by them, sometimes dangerously close and over the speed limit.

“In one instance in the last couple of weeks, one motorist knocked the south out of a highway worker’s hands, so he raised the concern and said this work zone safety is becoming an issue,” Sheriff’s Patrol Captain John Rousseau said.

To combat speeding, construction sites have put up multiple, brightly lit signs alerting drivers to slow down.

The sheriff’s office and Wisconsin State Patrol had a work zone traffic enforcement operation last week. In three hours, they issued 13 speeding tickets, 7 speeding warnings, and ticketed one driver for using their cell phone behind the wheel in a work zone. One driver was cited for going 80 in a 55 MPH work zone.

“I was really hoping when we did the enforcement piece, that the deputies and troopers working that extra detail would’ve been bored. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. They were busy,” Rousseau said.

Even after the enforcement campaign, the sheriff’s office learned about several violations that put workers’ lives at risk.

The sheriff’s office is urging drivers to slow down, put down their phone, and give themselves plenty of distance while driving to protect workers, drivers, and themselves on the road.

“We really just hope that the message resonates that, hey, there’s people working, they’re doing their job. Our job is to just slow down a little bit and let everybody go home at the end of the day,” Capt. Rousseau said.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says it's running out of options to protect road crews