For the Antigo Times
Last month 32 people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes, which tied it for the third safest month of January in terms of traffic fatalities since World War II, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
The safest month of January was in 2010 with 20 fatalities. January 2010 also had the lowest number of traffic deaths of any month since fatality records were first compiled in 1937. The deadliest January was in 1964 with 82 fatalities.
Traffic fatalities last month equaled January 2016 and were five fewer than the five-year average for the month of January. So far this year, 21 drivers, 10 passengers and one pedestrian have died in crashes.
Distracted driving by motorists of all ages continues to be a major factor in a large number of fatal and serious injury crashes, according to David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety.
“To help prevent fatal and serious injury crashes, you need to pay strict attention to traffic and road conditions while behind the wheel,” Pabst says. “If you use a cell phone, eat a meal, or search for items inside your vehicle while driving, you’re increasing your risk of a crash. Eliminating distractions while driving is even more critical this time of year when winter weather conditions reduce your visibility and your vehicle’s traction. If you don’t pay attention to your driving, you’re much more likely to cause a crash or fail to avoid one.”