The South Milwaukee Police Department utilizes the Three “E’s” of traffic to promote a safe motoring community.
- Meetings and/or workshops with concerned citizens to explain how and why some speeding problems may be more perceived than real.
- Deployment of the speed trailer to inform motorists of their actual speed and remind them of the posted speed limit.
- Neighborhood speed watch program to identify neighborhood speeders and apply neighborhood pressure on them to slow down (Yard Sign Program)
- Neighborhood Newsletters, Website, Government Access Channel, High School Newspapers, teaching parents how to how install child restraint seats, and programs like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers).
• Although viewed by the motoring public as a penalty, traffic enforcement is an educational tool designed to improve awareness of traffic laws. The Police Department receives traffic complaints on a regular basis. Enforcement areas are then assigned based on these complaints. Officers also take it upon themselves during their shift to enforce traffic laws while on patrol with random enforcement of areas with a low and high volume of violators.
• Patrol and Traffic Officers review areas for atypical circumstances and work with City, County and State engineers, to help identify problem areas to find solutions to make the roadways safer and more efficient.
College Avenue west of Nicholson Avenue has a “Roundabout”. Wisconsin Department of Transportation has provided some driving safety information when navigating roundabouts. Click here for safety information.
Drivers must be even more vigilant when school starts
With the start of the school year, drivers will once again need to watch for children and teens walking, biking or riding buses to and from school and follow laws designed to protect them.
“Students, especially young children, are not always aware of the traffic around them, so drivers should expect the unexpected. Drivers will need to pay attention and slow down when approaching students who are walking or riding bikes. They also will need to be particularly cautious around school buses that are loading or unloading passengers” says Officer Brian Fleming of the South Milwaukee Police Department.
Stop for school buses
Under a new state regulation, school buses in Wisconsin built after January 1, 2005 must have amber lights to alert drivers that the bus is about to activate its flashing red warning lights while coming to a stop. The new regulation goes into effect on August 16, 2016.
“Flashing amber lights are a signal that the school bus is preparing to stop, so drivers need to slow down, pay attention and proceed carefully. Drivers are allowed to pass a moving bus with flashing amber lights, but they should do so cautiously,” says State Patrol Lieutenant Karl Mittelstadt. “However, once the bus displays flashing red warning lights, drivers both in front of and behind the bus must stop at least 20 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the red lights are turned off or the bus resumes travel. Drivers must stop even if the red stop-sign arm on the side of the bus is not extended.”
Stopping for red flashing lights on buses has been a state law for decades. Violating the law results in a minimum fine of $326.50 and four demerit points. The law does not apply to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus on a divided highway separated by a median or other physical barrier. However, the law does apply if there is no median or barrier on a multiple-lane road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest form of transportation for students going to and from school and extra-curricular activities.
“With amber lights as a cautionary signal, school buses will be even safer for transporting children,” Mittelstadt said.
To help maintain this commendable safety record, the State Patrol inspects every school bus in Wisconsin every year for a total of about 11,000 inspections annually.
Students walking to school
State law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians:
• Who have started crossing an intersection or crosswalk on a walk signal or on a green light if there’s no walk signal.
• Who are crossing the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection where there are no traffic lights or control signals.
• When a vehicle is crossing a sidewalk or entering an alley or driveway.
State law also requires:
• That no pedestrians shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is difficult for the operator of the vehicle to yield. This could lead to a fine of up to $68.60.
• Every pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. This could lead to a fine of up to $55.60.
In addition, drivers may not legally overtake and pass any vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians at an intersection or crosswalk. Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are legally crossing roadways may be issued citations that cost approximately $175 to $232 (depending on the type of violation) along with four demerit points assessed on their license. A citation for passing a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians costs up to $326 with three demerit points.
Students biking to school
When drivers are passing bicycles traveling in the same direction, they must leave a safe distance of no less than 3-feet of clearance and must maintain that clearance until they have safely passed the bicycle.
A violation of the state law that requires drivers to overtake and pass bicyclists safely costs a total of up to $200.50 with three demerit points.