Dane Co. officials report ‘unprecedented’ number of fatal crashes involving multiple factors

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened just after 4:30 a.m....
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened just after 4:30 a.m. and both trucks caught fire.(MGN)
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County officials are working to develop solutions after reporting an “unprecedented” number of fatal crashes involving both speeding and alcohol or drug use.

On Monday, Dane County Traffic Safety Commission co-chair and Sgt. Matt Meyer reported that two out of every three deaths from crashes in the fourth quarter of 2021 involved speeding and drug or alcohol use.

Meyer noted 10 deaths were the result of six crashes across Madison, Sun Prairie, Middleton and the towns of Montrose and Dunkirk. This is continuing a trend of fatal crashes in Dane County.

“During all of 2021, we saw seven fatal crashes resulting in eleven deaths that involved both speeding and alcohol or drug use,” Meyer said. “This is an increase of over forty percent from averages in the past five years.”

Four TSC workgroups are working to develop strategies to address several issues. The first is driving impaired by alcohol and drug use. The second is risky driving behavior including speeding, distracted driving, and use of occupant protection measures. The third is pedestrian crashes and the fourth is racial disparities and traffic injuries.

The workgroups will also work with members of the community to collaborate on proposed solutions.

“When a crash involves multiple factors, it dramatically increases the likelihood it will result in death,” said Cheryl Wittke, TSC co-chair and executive director of Safe Communities of Madison-Dane County. “When a crash involves multiple In Dane County we see our share of this, and no family should have to face the tragic results.”

The commission noted that the overall number of traffic fatalities increased significantly last year. There was an average of 33 crash-related death annually over the past five years, Meyers stated, and 48 deaths in 2021. Around half of the crashes were speed related.

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