Whatever we're doing to make our roads safer, we need to keep doing it.
With a total of 29 fatalities in 28 traffic crashes, last month was tied for the fourth safest month of February on Wisconsin roads since World War II, according to preliminary statistics from the state Department of Transportation.
Traffic fatalities are continuing a decline that began last year, when Wisconsin had the fewest deaths in more than 60 years, according to Dennis Hughes, chief of safety programs for the DOT. Hughes cautions sustaining the safer trend "will be a huge challenge" as warmer weather arrives in the state, bringing dryer pavements and higher vehicle speeds, leading to more violent and potentially deadly crashes. He says drivers will need to be just as vigilant and cautious in coming months as they have been all winter.
Traffic fatalities in February were seven fewer than the same month last year, when 36 people died, and 10 fewer than the five-year average of 39 fatalities for the month.
As of February 28, a total of 64 people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes during 2009, including two motorcycle drivers and two pedestrians. Traffic deaths through February were 16 fewer than during the same period in 2008 and 30 fewer than the five-year average.