Florence is on patrol

Roadways are more dangerous during summer months.

People travel more and there are more people on the roadways.

Summer is the most fatal time on America’s roads.

The three months from Memorial Day through Labor Day are the deadliest on the nation’s roads – with more fatal crashes and more children and teens dying than at any time of year.

Americans travel more than one trillion miles in summer – an extra 10.5 million miles per month, collectively.

Nationally, an average of more than 250 additional people die in traffic fatalities each month during the summer than the rest of the year.

Of the 25 deadliest days on American roads, 20 of them fall between Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Some 13,000 Americans are killed annually in traffic accidents from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Enforcing the rules of the road can become difficult for smaller law enforcement agencies in summer. More officers are needed to handle the increased traffic.

For Florence County Sheriff Jeff Rickaby, there is help.

His one agency is responsible for covering the entire 500 square miles of Florence County.

In fact, his is the only police agency in Florence County.

This summer, however, his department has been selected to receive a Wisconsin State Safety Enforcement Grant to patrol for impaired driving, seat belt usage, and speeding.

“It is proven that lack of seat-belt use, excessive speed, and alcohol use are the primary contributors for injuries and deaths related to vehicle crashes,” he said. “They are also preventable. Strict enforcement has been proven to reduce the losses related to motor vehicle crashes.”

“Unfortunately, many people in our society view traffic deaths as accidents,” Rickaby said. “Sometimes they are, but most times the crash was preventable if the driver had not been speeding, texting, or driving while impaired.”

Florence County Sheriff’s Department officers are now trained in advanced techniques for detection of “poly-drug use,” that is, combining alcohol and prescription pain killers.

If a motorist is drinking while under the influence of pain killers, they will be caught.

This is not the first time Rickaby’s department has been granted funding for impaired enforcement.

The Florence County Sheriff’s Department was granted funds in September 2013 for impaired driving enforcement.

The result was 60 impaired driving cases. Deputies also made 68 drug-related arrests, Rickaby said, most of which were associated with impaired drivers.

Florence County is a great place to visit in summer.

More than half of the land is publicly owned and 80 percent of the land area is forested. It contains 265 lakes. It’s beautiful

Yes, it’s a great place to visit.

But if you happen to be drinking and driving this summer, you might want to steer clear.

Florence County is on patrol.