The head of safety programs for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation credits higher gas prices, in part, for decreased traffic fatalities on state roads. Road deaths in June were the lowest for the month in 62 years, according to statistics released Thursday by the DOT. A total of 51 people died in 45 crashes in June. That's the second lowest June total since 1946, when 45 people were killed.
Dennis Hughes, chief of safety programs for the Wisconsin State Patrol's Bureau of Transportation Safety, said the reduction in fatalities can be attributed in part to high gasoline prices, which tend to decrease vehicle speeds and traffic volumes. "The decline can also be attributed to more motorists making the right decisions to buckle up, slow down, and drive sober," Hughes said in a news release announcing the traffic death statistics.
Through the first six months of 2008, 250 people have been killed in 231 crashes in Wisconsin, 88 fewer than the first six months of 2007 and 102 below the five-year average. Since October 2007, every month's fatality total on Wisconsin roads has been lower than the previous year's total for the same month. Still, Hughes cautioned against complacency by motorists, noting that the months of July, August and September are traditionally among the most dangerous on Wisconsin's roads.