September 1, 2014

DOT renews traffic safety grant

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has renewed a traffic safety grant for Dane County. The Drive SMART, Sober, Moderate Speed, Alert, Restrained and Thoughtful – grant in Dane County, and it will provide $125,000 for local law enforcement agencies. Randy Romanski is safety programs chief with the State Patrol. “The agencies have banded together to try to address multiple safety issues,” said Romanski. “DOT is providing additional funding for overtime enforcement to do that.”

The SMART initiative resulted in over 2,000 citations being issued this year, about half for speeding. But it’s not just about tickets. “The goal of the enforcement efforts is not to write more citations,” said Romanski. “The goal of the enforcement effort to change driver behaviors.”

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office applies for and manages the grant. Other police departments that participate in the enforcement include City of Madison, Town of Madison, Middleton, Monona, Verona, McFarland, Fitchburg, and Cottage Grove. The enforcement is done both independently and in joint deployments, and is often publicized in advance. The new grant cycle will start immediately and run through September of 2013. The enforcement efforts focus on Highway 12/18 between Cottage Grove and Middleton, and on major thoroughfares like Highways 51 and 18/151.

Romanski said there are hundreds of similar grants statewide administered through the State Patrol.