Traffic deaths are up despite fewer cars on the road, state patrol says

Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 2:49 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin State Patrol is warning drivers of a “spike” in traffic deaths, in spite of the pandemic.

So far in 2020, the agency reports, 518 people have died in Wisconsin resulting from a crash. In the same time frame last year, there were 485 traffic deaths.

Superintendent Tony Burrell calls this a “significant jump,” as “one fatality is one too many.”

This report comes as fewer cars have been on the roads since the pandemic started. “You’d think that with there being less vehicles on the road, there would be less fatalities,” Burrell said.

Part of the reason, he said, is that people who are out during the pandemic are considered “less risk averse.” They’re the ones often speeding, driving under the influence and not wearing their seat belts.

In 2019, the number of traffic deaths totaled at 551. 66 of them occurred between early November and December 31.

With the holiday season still to come, Burrell said he wants to drill this message: “Buckle up. Put away distractions. Be safe. Be smart. Be sober.”

AAA estimates up to 50 million Americans will be traveling on Thanksgiving, though that is fewer than recent years.

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