Law enforcement responding to more highway crashes

Officers are targeting crash-prone areas but say drivers need to take responsibility

Appleton 41 at Ballard crash

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – Traffic crashes on local highways during the morning and evening commute appear to be more common. Local law enforcement say they find themselves being called to accidents on the highway more regularly, if not every day.

Tow trucks and emergency vehicles, cars stuck in traffic, those are the scenes local law enforcement say are snarling the morning and evening commute on almost a daily basis.

According to Officer Michael Lambie with the Fox Valley Metro Police Department, “This summer, and even going back to this winter, accidents on 41 seem to be common place now. I don’t know if it’s an upward trend, I haven’t been able to look at statistics, but certainly it does seem like an every day occurrence we’re pushing out on social media that there’s an accident up there, slow down or avoid the area.”

Authorities can’t necessarily pinpoint why there appears to be more crashes now than there was before, but Lambie says, “Some people may speculate with the speed increase, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think more of it come back to distraction.”

The State Patrol agrees. And with growth in Outagamie County, except on I-41, which still remains two lanes in both directions, more motorists are traveling and everyone wants to get somewhere.

“It’s a high volume of traffic. One vehicle slows down and the next one doesn’t. A lot of times people are following too closely through the Fox Valley and from Green Bay to the Fox Valley there’s a lot of exits, on ramps and off ramps so people are adjusting their speed to let traffic on or off and then other people are not paying as close of attention as they should be,” says Sgt. Luke Newman with the Wisconsin State Patrol.

While law enforcement is targeting areas prone to crashes with enforcement, they say drivers need to be responsible for their own actions behind the wheel

Sgt. Newman adds, “The motoring public needs to increase their following distance, limit their distractions, make sure they just make their commute to work safely.”

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