More highway patrols in central Wisconsin for "Operation Safe Dr - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

More highway patrols in central Wisconsin for "Operation Safe Driver"

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Drivers beware: your chances of getting a ticket for speeding, texting or tailgating are even greater this week.

"The responsibility that everyone has when they get behind the wheel, whether it be a passenger car, a bus, a large truck, remains the same," said Sgt. Rob Hartson, Wisconsin State Patrol.

Wisconsin State Patrol officers will be watching for aggressive drivers, behind the wheel in cars and semi-trucks, hoping to make the roads safer.

"The driver error on either side, whether it be a large truck or passenger vehicle is pretty similar statistic-wise," said Hartson.

It's part of a nationwide effort, known as "Operation Safe Driver". As many as 40 officers in north central Wisconsin will be on patrol.

"To remind drivers of the responsibility they have when they're out driving," said Hartson.

State Patrol officials said in the past 10 years, they've seen a drop in highway crashes involving semis and large trucks.

They said the number of truck-related crashes has declined by about 26%.

"Hours of service have changed for the drivers, there's a little more stringent as far as the licensing and medical requirements," said Hartson.

Officers said in 2012, there were 71 large-truck crash fatalities in Wisconsin. That's down from 102 crashes in 2003.

State Patrol officials said that comes from more safety education and patrols.

"It's important for everyone, not only the passenger vehicles, but the commercial motor vehicles to understand their responsibility just to avoid crashes and fatalities," said Hartson.

Officers said the initiative is an ongoing effort and they hope to see the downward trend continue.

The effort continues through Saturday.

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Sunday kicks off a nationwide campaign to crack down on aggressive driving.

Wisconsin State Patrol officers said they'll be out in full force.

The campaign is known as "Operation Safe Driver".

Officers said the program started in 2007 and has helped cut down on highway crashes.

The program focuses on driving habits that could lead to crashes with large trucks and semis.

During the week-long initiative, State Patrol officers will be watching for violations like speeding and distracted driving.

They'll also be watching semis and other large trucks for violations of their own.

"The driver error on either side, whether it be a large truck or passenger vehicle is pretty similar as far as statistic-wise," said Sgt. Rob Hartson, Wisconsin State Patrol.

Wisconsin State Patrol officials said since 2003, the number of large truck crashes has dropped by about 26%. They said that's because of increased patrols and safety education.

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