Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office

Dane County Sheriff’s Office Awarded Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant

May 21, 2014
Contact: Elise Schaffer, PIO Phone: (608) 284-6142
Sheriff's Office

Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend and the busy summer travel season, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has awarded the Dane County Sheriff’s Office a $10,000 grant for distracted driving enforcement.


“As technology becomes more and more part of our daily activity, and we all juggle busy schedules, it can be easy to become distracted while driving.  But our deputies, highway workers, and EMS personnel see first-hand every day the devastation that can happen when drivers become distracted.  These crashes are easily preventable if we give driving our full attention,” said Sheriff David Mahoney. 


The first deployment will be Thursday, May 22nd, with the targeted area being the Beltline Highway between Middleton and Cottage Grove.  Increased summer traffic combined with several construction zones along the Beltline, make it crucial for motorists to give driving their full attention. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.  This includes eating and drinking, reading maps or using a GPS, using a cell phone, or adjusting a radio, just to name a few.   In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in the U.S. in motor vehicle crashes where distracted driving was a primary factor.  According to, when someone sends a text message, their eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds; at 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.


"Every time you drive, you are legally and morally responsible for safely operating a potentially destructive, and even deadly, force," said David Pabst, Bureau Director for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. "That’s why driving requires your undivided attention. Any lapse in attention to traffic or road conditions is a grave danger to drivers, passengers and everyone else on the road. No attempt to multi-task behind the wheel is more important than a human life."


The Dane County Sheriff’s Office will continue this enforcement until the end of August.  The cost of an inattentive driving or texting while driving citation is $187.90.