A Department of Transportation official partially blames a lack of resources for a significant drop in the number of people being caught and convicted for speeding on Wisconsin’s roads.
In 2004, about 294,000 people were convicted of speeding statewide. Last year, that number dropped to 156,000 convictions.
Randy Romanski, the safety programs chief for the DOT, said dwindling federal grant money is playing a role in the decline. He said the DOT gets money for overtime costs associated with anti-speeding campaigns. In the past, the state was able to carry money from year to year, but regulations changed and the pot was cut nearly in half in 2013.
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“There’s no rolling carryover balance to depend on any longer,” said Romanski.
Romanski says other factors could account for the stark decline, like bad weather and better compliance with speed limits. He said tight budgets at the federal, state and local levels are also being felt.
“The local law enforcement agencies may not have as many resources available to them through their own local revenue sources,” he said.
Kyle Roder, a community relations officer with the Eau Claire Police Department, also said a lack of resources is the major factor. Last year, they won the federal speed grant and wrote 560 speeding tickets. In 2012, without the grant, they issued 161.
“Currently our staffing allows for our officers to cover the areas and react to the crimes in progress (and) the complaints that come in through our communications center,” said Roder. “We don’t have a lot of unoccupied time or free time to enforce traffic.”
The DOT says that even though fewer officers are giving out speeding tickets, Wisconsin’s roads are still getting safer.
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