DOT: 2013 traffic deaths lowest in nearly 70 years - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

DOT: 2013 traffic deaths lowest in nearly 70 years

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials say 2013 ended with the lowest traffic deaths in nearly 70 years. They say 527 fatalities were reported, which is the lowest annual number since 1944 when 526 fatalities were reported.

Transportation leaders say there were 74 fewer deaths, down about 12 percent from 2012.

There is no single factor we can identify as the main reason for such a significant reduction in traffic fatalities,” said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb. “We know that the vast majority of serious crashes are caused by bad driving habits and irresponsible decisions. Therefore, motorists deserve a great deal of credit for saving their own lives and lives of others by slowing down, paying attention, buckling up and driving sober,” he added.

Transportation leaders also say the number of motorcycle deaths is down to 84 from 116 in 2012. That's a 28 percent reduction.

The unseasonably cool and wet spring shortened the motorcycle riding season, which likely had a role in the decrease,” said David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety.

Overall, state leaders say there were about 19,000 fewer traffic crashes overall.

In addition to preventing injuries and deaths, a reduction in traffic crashes also saves money for all of us,” Pabst said “Last year’s overall reduction in crashes saved about $237 million based on National Safety Council estimates for the economic impact of traffic crashes. This economic impact includes medical expenses, higher insurance premiums, lost wages, expenses for local government agencies, and other factors.”

On average, transportation leaders say more than one person a day is killed in a crash and more than 100 are injured.

We all must do everything we can to drive and ride responsibly, so we can one day attain zero preventable deaths in Wisconsin,” said Gottlieb.

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