The state Department of Transportation says traffic deaths on Wisconsin roads rose 50 percent in May, compared to the same month a year ago.
Preliminary figures from the DOT show 48 people lost their lives in traffic crashes last month, up from 32 in May of 2013. The Memorial Day period alone resulted in 11 deaths, compared to eight last year.
Still, fatalities are a lot lower than they used to be. The state’s record for May was 123 traffic deaths in 1968 and the DOT says this past May was the third safest on record since World War II.
For the first five months of this year, 164 people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes — one fewer than last year, and 22 less than the five-year average. Eighteen motorcycle drivers are included in this year’s death toll, along with two motorcycle passengers, 18 pedestrians, and one bicyclist.