Rural Letter Carriers Start Driver Safety Campaign

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Just because he's not dressed like your typical letter carrier doesn't make Gene Dehnke a slouch when it comes to picking up and delivering your mail.

"We have to be working as we're driving," he said.

His 26-mile route near Hamilton Avenue in Eau Claire is considered rural. That's how it was classified when those boundaries were set up.

"We don't spend much time at each box."

Just because it's a rural route doesn't mean Gene's life isn't at risk when he's at some of those boxes.

"I've had some close calls."

So have dozens of carriers throughout the nation. Unlike gene, they're usually driving their personal cars, making it tough to tell who they are, other than a sign or two and maybe a flashing light.

That's why some of Gene's counterparts from post offices around Western Wisconsin and Minnesota are running a campaign in hopes that you'll slow down and pay more attention around rural carriers.

"We see this campaign giong on throughout the year," said Kathy Morris, a rural carrier out of Hayward.

They've even created life-sized characters, dressed like rural carriers and named for safety's sake to drive the point home.

"It's accidents with the public because they're not aware of rural carriers out there," said Haugen Postmaster Rose Brunclik.

"It's a loss of time, it affects so many people," Dehnke said.

Just because Gene Dehnke is driving a little differently on his route, doesn't mean you shouldn't think about driving a little differently yourself before he's finished up.