For the Antigo Times
With 50 traffic fatalities, August was the safest month on Wisconsin roads in terms of traffic deaths since World War II. Traffic fatalities last month also were 14 fewer than August 2015 and 15 fewer than the five-year average for the month August, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
The deadliest month of August was in 1969 with 154 fatalities—the single worst month for traffic deaths in Wisconsin history.
As of August 31, a total of 387 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2016, including 53 motorcycle operators, four motorcycle passengers, 28 pedestrians and 10 bicyclists. Traffic deaths through the end of August were 33 more than during the same period in 2015 and 32 more than the five-year average.
“Although traffic fatalities so far this year are up about 9 percent compared with last year, we are encouraged that fatalities went down significantly last month. Because of increased traffic, August typically is a high fatality month,” says David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “We need to continue to reduce traffic deaths. In coming weeks, many motorcyclists will be on the road for fall rides around the state. To prevent crashes, drivers need to share the road and watch for motorcycles especially at intersections and while making turns and lane changes. To protect themselves and other motorists, motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws, such as speed limits, and never ride while impaired. They should always wear protective and conspicuous clothing and gear, including a helmet that meets or exceeds US DOT standards. Tragically, approximately three out of four motorcyclists who died in crashes last year in Wisconsin were not wearing helmets.”