State Troopers concerned with speeding through work zones

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by Lane Kimble

WAUKESHA -- It's pretty tough to avoid freeway construction around southeastern Wisconsin.  But police say avoiding a ticket and avoiding a crash should only take simple common sense.

"If you stopped everybody who's going over the limit, you'd need probably 150 officers out there," Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Steve Lindemann said.

Far more resources than troopers can commit to stop people from flying through freeway work zones.  Trooper Lindemann hears plenty of excuses.

"'Well, everybody else was going the same speed I was doing through there,'" Lindemann says is a common one.

Lindemann pulls over several people daily who are weaving  through work zones, sometimes going up to 45 miles-per-hour over the limit.

"When we're out there in unmarked vehicles, they drive right past us and they exceed the speed  limit," Lindemann said.  "If we have the marked cars out there, the halos kind of come out."

The state Department of Transportation records about 35 crashes per week in construction areas.  State Troopers say most of them come from impatient drivers who ignore or don't even notice  warning signs.

"Traffic would flow," Lindemann said.  "When you have all these people trying to squeeze in and out it seems to create the biggest problems."

Along with speeding, Lindemann says a big problem is drivers only focusing on the car in front of them.  He says plenty of crashes in work zones could be avoided if drivers looked farther down  the road.

"They're watching what's happening directly in front of them," Lindemann said.  "If they were looking half-mile to a mile down the road as they're traveling, it would be a whole lot safer for them and everybody else."

Lindemann adds texting and driving to the list of reasons he pulls people over.  The trooper says he's never hunting for bad drivers, instead he's simply working to keep everyone safe.

"People really need to be paying attention to what their primary task is and that primary task is driving," Lindemann said.

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