Wisconsin ended 2013 with 530 traffic fatalities, which is the lowest annual total in nearly 70 years.
This dramatic reduction in traffic deaths was due to many factors including effective traffic safety law enforcement, education, engineering of roadways and vehicles, and unusual weather patterns. Emergency medical responses at crash scenes also saved many lives. Moreover, because most serious crashes are caused by bad driving habits and irresponsible decisions, motorists deserve a great deal of credit for saving their own lives and lives of others by buckling up, driving sober, slowing down and paying attention.
Overall, there were approximately 19,000 fewer traffic crashes in 2013 than in 2012. In addition to preventing injuries and deaths, this reduction in crashes saved Wisconsin about $237 million based on National Safety Council estimates for the economic impact of traffic deaths, injuries and property damage.
Traffic safety is a fundamental priority for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and we are encouraged—but certainly not complacent—about the recent progress in preventing traffic deaths and injuries. We are aware that traffic fatalities are more than just numbers and statistics. Each number was a person whose unexpected death was mourned by family and friends. And we know that most of the traffic deaths last year could have been prevented. That’s why we urge everyone to take some simple but critical steps this year to stop these senseless tragedies. Please buckle up, drive sober, slow down and pay attention, so we can continue to make steady progress toward the goal of zero preventable traffic deaths in Wisconsin.