July saw another decrease in traffic deaths in Wisconsin. "July of this year, we lost 63 people in Wisconsin," says Dennis Hughes, Chief of Safety Programs with the Wisconsin DOT. "That's the second safest month of July since 1946." It was also the tenth straight month where fatalities have been lower than in the same month from the previous year. Hughes says a variety of factors appear to be at work here, including weather and high fuel prices, but there's no reason to get complacent. "While that's a lot better than the numbers that we've had in the past, that's still 63 premature funerals, and an awful lot of anguish felt by families, friends and co-workers."
Hughes hopes that the safety message DOT has been putting out for years has something to do with dropping fatalities. "Whatever motivates folks to actually heed the message that we've been sending out for years, about slowing down, driving sober and buckling up, apparently is playing a part in this," says Hughes.
But, as a reminder of how far the state still has to go, a crash in Dane County Wednesday killed a Potosi woman, her teen age son and his friend. None of those victims were wearing seatbelts, and investigators say the driver was speeding and talking on her cell phone when she lost control of her vehicle.