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Interstate crashes raise concern ‘nobody is paying attention’

I-39/90 shutdowns lead authorities to caution drivers.
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - After four people were injured in two separate crashes on the interstate earlier this week, law enforcement and truck drivers are voicing concern about reckless driving.

Since the start of the year, over 2,000 crashes have occurred in Rock County. While some are minor fender benders, others have been fatal.

Wisconsin State Patrol Troop Ander Melloch says a variety of factors contributed to Monday and Tuesday’s crashes that shutdown lanes on the I-39/90 for several hours.

“People have places to go and they want to go there,” said Melloch. “We hope that people kind of take in mind these couple of crashes that we’ve been having out here.”

Melloch says many drivers are weaving in and out of traffic in a narrow construction zone.

“As this construction is kind of winding down, traffic as been able to flow a little bit easier,” said Melloch. “There may not be barrels out but if traffic is congested people just need to realize there is a construction zone even if they’re aren’t people working.”

He says some parts of the interstate can be a hazard if drivers are traveling too fast or not paying attention.

Wisconsin State Patrol authorities are also taking note of more cars out on the roadways.

“Traffic is starting to return to normal out on the interstate,” said Melloch. “Last year, we saw a significant reduction I the amount of people traveling, but now we’re back into pretty much full swing.”

Truck driver Jason Johnson is also noticing the increase of cars on the roads.

He’s worked as a trucker for 20 years and often drives the route between Westfield and Janesville.

“The amount of traffic that’s on the road right now, it’s an extremely high volume compared to what is normal,” said Johnson.

He says distracted driving habits are commonplace.

“If you’re going to do that, you’re really putting yourself and the driver in danger,” Johnson said.

Speed and drivers with road rage give him the most concern.

“Anytime that you take a large volume of vehicles and you introduce speed into that equation, somebody is going to make the wrong move,” said Johnson. “Because not everybody is paying attention to what they’re doing.”

Johnson says he wants drivers to remember it takes much longer for a semi-truck to slow down than an average car.

“Those trucks don’t stop on a dime,” he said. “It takes a football field for a fully loaded truck to stop.”

Wisconsin State Patrol says there are plans to conduct more aerial enforcement this summer.

To view crash data, compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation click HERE.

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