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Traffic picks up as leaves begin to fall

Traffic on local roads is hitting a fever pitch as the seasons change. That is certainly true in Kewaunee County, where the combination of fall activities, corn and soybean harvest, hunting, and regular day-to-day business has created minimal accidents but lots of close calls. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have been getting their fair share of calls voicing their concerns about the traffic on local roads, especially when it is a near miss. Inattentive driving, speeding, and failure to yield have been the more common calls they have received. Joski says motorists have to play nice with each other while traveling the area.

Joski encourages people to safely reach out to the sheriff’s department if they see dangerous activity on the roadway. You can read more about the topic from Joski below.

 

Thank you to County Administrator Scott Feldt for sharing the updates and insights related to Broadband development here in Kewaunee County. I have no doubt that many found value in the information, and we greatly appreciate all that you are doing on this issue and many more.

      

Over the past few weeks, we have definitely seen an increase in agricultural activity. Beyond the ongoing movement of nutrient resources from farms to field, there is now the fall harvest of both Soybeans and Corn. Between fertilizing and harvesting, there is not a corner of our county that is not impacted by the increased road traffic. Along with this increase in traffic, we here at the Sheriff’s Department continue to field our share of complaints regarding the activities.

      

The blending of various forms of activity on any roadway will naturally result in increased safety concerns. Whether it is the relationship of cars to bikes, cars to trucks, cars to pedestrians, cars to AG Vehicles, or cars to ATV/UTVs, the basic differences between each of them create an environment which is problematic in sharing the same roadway. It is important to note that each of these do in fact have the right to be on the road at some level, and the key phrase to this relationship is “Sharing”. The first step in making all of this sharing of the roadway possible is mutual respect, and in most of the calls we respond to, this is the very element which many times is missing from one or both sides of the issue.

      

Over the years, I have written numerous articles on road safety, we have also participated in numerous grants to get additional Deputies on the road to target specific safety issues such as seat belt use, speed enforcement, and OWI enforcement. Here in Kewaunee County, we also have a Highway Safety Commission, which meets quarterly and discusses various issues brought to us by the community for recommendations or actions. All of these efforts make very little impact if the key component of Mutual Respect by each individual operator on our roads is not present.

     

In addition, those agricultural entities using the roads need to adopt and embrace what I will call a “Culture of Safety.” While we all understand the need and demands of farming and the constant pressure placed upon these entities by weather conditions and Planting/ Harvesting timelines, safety can not and should not be secondary to these considerations.

      

Over the winter months, I have the opportunity to meet with the owners and operators in our agricultural community, and it is during these conversations that solutions and remedies to issues of the past, as well as challenges predicted into the future, are discussed. While these are great discussions, they need to acted upon and put into practice. There is an old saying in the world of safety; “If it is predictable, it is preventable.”

      

I have been Sheriff now for almost 16 years, and we have been having these discussions for almost that long, with some operators still struggling to fully embrace this culture of safety. Thus far, we have approached these matters in the educational mode, but that can not be the case for perpetuity. At some point, we need to have accountability. It is for this reason that I encourage any and all of our farms and/or operators to participate in these off-season discussions, as it will be at these sessions that expectations will be set. I also invite our local and state legislators to these meetings, which are coordinated and hosted by our local UW-Extension Office. Legislation and those responsible for it are vital stakeholders in regard to effective language in our local and state laws governing the use of the roads and equipment standards for those vehicles on our roads.

    

Let’s all work together to keep our roads safe, regardless of what you are driving. 

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