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Highway safety topic of conference in Stevens Point


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -  The 39th Annual Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety is underway in Stevens Point. Randy Romanski is the Safety Programs Chief for the Bureau of Transportation Safety at Wisconsin State Patrol. He says the conference gives many people a chance to learn how to make our roads safer by learning from each other. “It has attendees from throughout the State of Wisconsin, local police forces, local police departments, county sheriff’s departments, emergency medical services, child passenger safety, it runs the gamut, and the goal is to focus on what we can do to improve traffic safety and transportation safety in the State of Wisconsin.”

Governor Scott Walker addressed the attendees when the conference started, and announced the state’s drivers are doing a much better job of using their seat belts. “The Governor announced that seat belt use in Wisconsin is almost 83%, which while comparatively low to our neighboring states, is still a dramatic improvement from prior years. It’s the highest seat belt use we’ve ever had in the state.”

Agencies learn from each other how to better implement safety programs, like Click-it or Ticket, nighttime seat belt enforcement, and additional patrols for deterring impaired driving. “The goal is for the agencies to make themselves highly visible. Let the public know that they’re going to be out there. The goal is not to make more arrests, the goal is to change people’s behavior so that they’re not driving unbelted, speeding, whatever the case might be.”

Romanski says there are several breakout sessions for attendees to learn about new things, or discuss safety issues. There are also demonstrations of products and driving simulators for autos and motorcycles at the conference. “It’s been a great conference. About 360 people here” adding, “It’s a really good opportunity for all of us to get together and make sure that we are learning from our peers.”