Letter to the Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Perspectives and Crossroads column
July 27, 2012
Nick Staniszewski of Muskego High School, who recently wrote a column titled "Young drivers need to slow down," shows that wisdom and maturity may come at an early age.
Nick knows that speeding is persistent, prevalent and potentially deadly. That’s why law enforcement officers take speeding violations seriously. Police agencies throughout Wisconsin recently completed the Summer Heat mobilization to deter speeding, which is part of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s “Summer of Safety” initiatives. Although Summer Heat has concluded, officers will continue to patrol streets and highways for speed enforcement. Their goal is to save lives and prevent injuries by decreasing the number of speed-related traffic crashes.
It’s common sense that at high speeds your ability to control your vehicle or react to the
unexpected decreases dramatically. In addition, the violence of a crash becomes more severe at
Drivers traveling at high speeds for an extended period of time on the open road also tend to not slow down sufficiently when approaching an intersection, construction zone or traffic congestion.
Wisconsin has experienced some success in stemming the tide of deaths in speed-related crashes. Fatalities in speed-related crashes in Wisconsin have declined in each of the last five years—from 265 deaths in 2006 to 162 deaths in 2011.
Despite this positive trend, no law enforcement officer or traffic safety advocate would say Wisconsin doesn’t have a speeding problem. Last year in Wisconsin, there were more than 180,000 convictions for speeding violations and nearly 20,000 of those convictions were for 20 or more miles per hour over the limit. The most tragic statistic is that more than 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in Wisconsin last year were in speed-related crashes.
Nick is correct in pointing out that speeding is endangering many young drivers. But in reality, drivers in every age group all too often make the dangerous and irresponsible decision to flout speed limits.
Speeding is not just a problem for young drivers. We all need to slow down to help make our roads safer. Nick Staniszewski gets it. Someday, maybe more drivers of every age will too.
For more information, contact:
Wisconsin State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable
Director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety
(608) 266-3048, firstname.lastname@example.org