Sheriff's deputies out in full force this Memorial Day Weekend

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There are more than 500 deaths on Wisconsin roads every year, and deputies plan to be out in full force this Memorial Day weekend in an effort to keep those on the road safe.

According to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, texting behind the wheel is the leading cause of teenage fatalities -- a statistic Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke wants to reduce in Wisconsin.

"The study indicated that texting while driving is becoming epidemic and it's a higher cause of death than even drinking while driving," Sheriff Clarke said.

Texting and driving is just one of the things 115 deputies will be looking for this Memorial Day Weekend.

"I can tell you as sure as I'm standing here, the first thing that everybody does when they see the red and blue lights on the freeway system - they look down at their speed.  It's the first thing they do.  How fast am I going?  Which means they don't know how fast they're going," Sheriff Clarke said.

Sheriff Clarke says more than 8,000 people were injured in speed-related crashes in 2010, and 168 were killed.

However, that's a low number compared to the 572 people killed in drunk driving crashes that same year.

"It's not to write tickets.  It's improve traffic flow.  It's to keep the freeway clear.  And it's to make sure that people can get safely to and from their destination," Sheriff Clarke said.

Sheriff Clarke says added enforcement will also be visible at the Lakefront and at public parks, as the Sheriff's Office continues Operation Safe Summer.