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Wisconsin Traffic Fatalities Increased Statewide in 2016


March 2017

The Badger State experienced 6 percent more deaths on the roads in 2016 than had occurred the previous year, and the director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety, David Pabst, said that a number of factors played a role in that increase. These include people not using their seat belts, speeding and driving while impaired, which have resulted in more accidents over the past few years. 

Another ever-increasing factor that he brought up was distracted driving as about 15 percent of fatal crashes in the last five years have been the result of this. The most common example of inattentive driving is texting while on the road. Other examples include otherwise using a phone, eating or drinking, reading, changing a musical selection and focusing more on talking to passengers than driving.

The 588 traffic deaths in 2016 were also the most in Wisconsin since 601 fatal motor vehicle accident deaths in 2012. WisDOT will intensify safety initiatives as it looks to help lower this number in coming years, but it is important for those living in and visiting this great state to also take responsibility themselves.

One of the most important actions you can take is to stay focused on the task at hand whenever you are on the road. One obvious way to help you focus is by refraining from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or texting when behind the wheel. 

Being distracted tends to take one of three forms:

  • mental – your mind is not focused on the road ahead
  • visual – your eyes are physically looking elsewhere 
  • physical – your hands are not on the wheel or your feet are not ready to brake 

Other actions you can take to be safer include always putting on your seat belt and remaining under the speed limit. Driving defensively – reacting to what what is occurring, or may occur, in front of you – will help too. 

For more information on Wisconsin traffic safety tips and resources, visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation sponsored website ZeroInWisconsin.gov.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious car accident, contact the personal injury law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben- representing accident victims in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Call 612-377-7777 or toll free at 1-800-752-4265 for a free consultation.