Sheriff releases two-year report on analysis of wrong-way drivers

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is releasing the results of a two-year analysis he directed on wrong-way drivers. That analysis shows there were 34 confirmed reports of wrong-way drivers in 2012, and 43 in 2013. In 2013, the report shows 93% of wrong-way drivers were drunk.

The purpose of the study was to identify strategies to reduce the frequency of wrong-way drivers, thereby saving lives and reducing property damage.

"This is a public safety menace. There's no defense for this. You can't swerve out of the way," Sheriff Clarke told FOX6 News on the day the report was released, Tuesday, February 4th.

READ IT: Wrong Way Driver Analysis

    Sheriff Clarke says we need new legislation that can help reduce the number of drunken drivers on Wisconsin roadways.

    "Being the only state in the nation that doesn't criminalize the first offense is working against us," Sheriff Clarke said.

    The Sheriff’s Office says it will continue to work with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and traffic engineering experts and monitor incidents as changes are made.

    "We're going to need the state Department of Transportation involved here for signage placing -- and not just signs -- roadway markings," Sheriff Clarke said.

    Michael Pyritz with the DOT responded on Tuesday afternoon.

    "Certainly we`re taking a look at his recommendations and everything. There`s certainly a lot of things that we do support, want to work with him as far as making the roadways as safe as possible," Pyritz said.

    "They might have some questions. Maybe they see some things that we missed here. But at some point the talk has got to end and we`ve got to see action," Sheriff Clarke said.

    Sheriff Clarke says the action has to begin by late spring.

    "Otherwise I`m going to get the impression that this is just getting a lot of lip service and a smile because I have effective strategies to get people to act," Sheriff Clarke said.

    Sheriff Clarke says he doesn't know how much his recommendations will cost -- saying the state will have to figure that out.

    Sheriff Clarke suggests drivers who are on the freeway between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. stay in the center or right lanes.