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State Patrol ready for busiest Memorial Day weekend in decade

Matt Barlar doesn't take joy from pulling people over, but the State Patrol Trooper knows he'll do plenty of it along I-94 in Racine County this weekend.

\"I'm not going to say I've seen it all, but more or less, I'm used to working the holidays,\" Barlar said inside his squad car Friday afternoon.

Barlar is a part of boosted city, county and state patrol efforts during the memorial day weekend. It's a time of year the state sees the number of deadly crashes jump significantly from the winter and spring months. 181 deaths on the roads so far in 2015 mark a 33 percent jump from 2014.

Those are numbers Sergeant Wendy Younglove hopes don't go up on her watch.

\"You kind of see a lot of everything and then, with the increased traffic you'll see more following too close, that people aren't allowing enough distance between the cars,\" Younglove said.

Younglove says they're putting special emphasis on DUI patrols and the \"Click it or Ticket\" seatbelt campaign this weekend. But the biggest issue is always speed, which Younglove says people consistently do in construction zones.

\"Sometimes we'll hide in there, but as a general rule we're out and we're very visible,\" Younglove said.

Visibly missing: any workers from those zones. Mike Pyritz with the Wisconsin DOT says the state required all work to stop from noon Friday through 6 a.m.Tuesday.

\"It's really a safety-driven thought process to help motorists and particularly motorists who may not be as familiar with the construction areas to be able to get safely through those zones,\" Pyritz said.

As for speed limits, officers remind drivers the new 70 MPH law doesn't go into effect until signs go up next month. Still, Barlar knows some drivers will push the limits and when they do, he expects them to follow his golden rule.

\"How would you want your mom to be treated if she gets pulled over by an officer,\" Barlar said \"So, we think about that.\"

The DOT and State Patrol encourage drivers to plan their trips according to road conditions and construction zones. You can find up-to-date information through the DOT's travel website here.

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