Wisconsin State Patrol boosts efforts to stop risky driving on the Beltline in Dane County

Release Date: May 16, 2024

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of State Patrol is conducting special traffic enforcement patrols on the Madison Beltline (US 12/18) in Dane County throughout the summer. Wisconsin State Patrol officers are working alongside partner law enforcement agencies, bolstering efforts to prevent risky driving behaviors on the Beltline that can lead to serious injury and fatal crashes.

“Thousands of people rely on the Beltline every day to get to work, school or other destinations,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “The Flex Lane is a great benefit to the community, it’s reduced congestion and improved travel times, but we need drivers to slow down. Keeping the Beltline safe starts with obeying the speed limit and using the Flex Lane appropriately.”

Speeding, distracted driving and driving recklessly endangers everyone on our roads. The Wisconsin State Patrol began conducting additional patrols on the Beltline in late April. Troopers cited several drivers for speeding violations. One morning a driver was cited for going 120 mph in the closed Flex Lane. The posted speed limit on the Beltline is 55 mph.

Typically open during morning and afternoon rush hours, the Flex Lane uses the inside median shoulder as an additional travel lane to keep people and commerce moving efficiently. Signs located above the Flex Lane indicate when the shoulder lane is available for use. A green arrow shows the lane is open for travel, and a red X is displayed when the lane is closed.

“Safety on the roads is everyone’s responsibility,” Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Timothy Carnahan said. “We have seen an increase in risky driving behaviors and speeding statewide and that is dangerous. We are adding special enforcement patrols on the Beltline to remind drivers to comply with the rules of the road and keep the Beltline safe and efficient for everyone.”

Most crashes are preventable, and drivers can avoid serious injury or death by following some simple steps:

  • Don’t speed. Speed increases the severity of crashes.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs inhibit reaction times and make it harder for a driver to focus on safely operating a vehicle.
  • Buckle up. Wearing a seat belt can greatly decrease the severity of injury in a crash. Make sure children are in the proper safety seat.
  • Put the phone down. One in five crashes involve distracted driving. Turn off your phone or download an app to prevent incoming and outgoing messages, calls and notifications while driving.
  • Drive courteously. Courteous driving encourages other drivers to be courteous. Aggressive driving influences others to drive aggressively.

Drivers are reminded to pull their vehicles off the road onto the right-side shoulder if stopped by law enforcement. Do not stop in the Flex Lane, even if the lane is closed. If there is no safe place to immediately pull over, move your vehicle to the right lane, turn on the emergency flashers and reduce your speed to signal to law enforcement that you are aware of their presence until you reach the nearest safe area to stop your vehicle.

Visit wisconsindot.gov/flexlane for more information on the Flex Lane.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov