Last month, 50 people died in traffic crashes on Wisconsin roads. It was tied for the sixth safest month of May in terms of traffic deaths since the end of World War II, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). The deadliest month of May occurred in 1968 with 123 fatalities, and the safest was in 2013 with 32 fatalities.
Traffic fatalities last month were seven fewer than May 2015 but equal to the five-year average for the month of May. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, eight people died in traffic crashes. Last year, 13 people died in crashes during the holiday weekend.
As of the end of May, 217 people have been killed in crashes including 17 pedestrians, four bicyclists, 14 motorcycle operators and one motorcycle passenger. Traffic fatalities as of May 31 were 10 more than the same period last year and 34 more than the five-year average.
“We’ve had fewer traffic fatalities every month so far this year than the same month in 2015 with the exception of February. We had 55 traffic deaths in February 2016 compared with 25 fatalities in February 2015, which is more than double. This puzzling spike in February accounts for the overall increase in fatalities this year,” ” says David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “We don’t know for certain why February was so deadly this year, but low gas prices and mild weather likely contributed. We’re now entering the heavily traveled summer months, which typically are the most deadly months on Wisconsin roads. To prevent serious injury and fatal crashes, we need everyone to slow down, buckle up, eliminate distractions and drive sober. Our goal is zero deaths on Wisconsin roads this summer and throughout the year.”