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Wisconsin cracking down on tailgating violations

We've written before about both the benefits and dangers of Interstate 90. La Crosse residents know the highway is vital to bring products in and out of our city, as well as to enable us to travel quickly to near and far destinations.

We also know the highway has its perils. One of the most dangerous drivers on I-90, and other highways and streets, is the driver who tailgates, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The tailgater might think they're going to force the driver ahead to speed up or to get out of the way, but the reality is that tailgating doesn't get people anywhere any faster. All it really does is increase the risk of a rear-end collision that all too often results in injuries or fatalities, especially when on a fast-moving highway such as I-90.

Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald said in a statement that tailgaters cause "countless" car accidents because they refuse to leave an appropriate buffer between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead of theirs.

"It doesn't matter if you're driving on a busy highway or a city street, if the vehicle in front of you stops unexpectedly, you're likely to crash unless you leave enough room to stop completely," he said.

Not only do tailgaters risk accidents that put everyone in danger, but they also risk incurring heavy fines when ticketed for their illegal behavior. Currently, a tailgating violation gets a driver a $200.50 fine, in addition to three points on their driving record.

While the fine is unpleasant, it's nothing compared to the heartbreak and tragedy a high-speed rear-end collision can inflict on innocent motorists and their passengers. Please drive safely over the coming holiday weekend and beyond.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation: "Tailgating increases your risks of a traffic ticket and a crash": May 23, 2011

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