Wisconsin State Patrol plans aerial enforcement May 3, May 4 in Fond du Lac County, Washington County

FOND DU LAC COUNTY -- The Wisconsin State Patrol plans to use aircraft and ground-based officers to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws on Friday, May 3 along WIS 23 in Fond du Lac County, and on Saturday, May 4 along US 45 in Washington County.

According to a press release from the State Patrol, if weather conditions are unfavorable for flying, enforcement typically proceeds using ground-based units.

“The primary goal of these enforcement efforts is public safety,” said Lieutenant Chris Jushka, who oversees the State Patrol’s Air Support Unit in the release. “Speeders and other aggressive drivers risk more than a citation -- they endanger the safety of everyone along our roadways.”

According to the release, in 2018 in Wisconsin, there were nearly 20,000 speed-related crashes resulting in 7,957 injuries and 173 fatalities -- more than the number of people injured (3,278) and killed (159) in alcohol-related crashes.

The State Patrol publicly announces many enforcement efforts to reinforce that the goal is voluntary compliance with traffic laws -- not to stop or cite motorists. Most State Patrol aerial missions are made possible through federal funds specifically designated to support traffic law enforcement. The State Patrol analyzes data on traffic citations, crash reports and related information to identify specific highway corridors for enforcement initiatives.

State Patrol aircraft use a timing device known as VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder) along with highway markings to determine vehicle speeds. When pilots detect speeders, aggressive or reckless drivers, they contact ground-based units to initiate a traffic stop.

A WisDOT YouTube video highlights the role of the State Patrol’s Air Support Unit.