A preliminary report from Wisconsin DOT shows decrease in traffic fatalities for 2018

Traffic in Green Bay Wisconsin. (WLUK)

CALUMET COUNTY (WLUK) -- A preliminary report from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows deadly crashes dropped in 2018 compared to the year before.

There were 565 deadly crashes in Wisconsin, between January 1st and December 30th of 2018.

"We did better this year than last, our overall fatalities are down about 4 percent, " said David Pabst, the Director of Transportation Safety.

In Northeast Wisconsin there were 121 crash-related deaths, with more than half happening in rural areas.

"You're going to have narrower roads, high speeds, smaller shoulders, incidents with wild life, distracted driving and I see it a lot in the rural areas lack of seat belts," said Ryan Mcclintock the Service Director for Great Lakes EMS.

The DOT said it's always making improvements to the make the roads a little safer, for example changing the speed limit in places where crashes happen.

"We're doing road treatments where you have rumble strips on the center line and the shoulder. Roundabouts are another one that has created a safer environment, so fatalities are down in those area," said Pabst.

McClintock agreed, saying some of the changes have helped reduce the number of crashes he's had to respond to.

We were thrilled to have a couple of roundabouts out here in Calumet County and Highway 10. Those things have been life savers, those were fatal intersections," said McClintock.

But even with the state's efforts to make the roads safer, McClintock said there are things drivers can do to avoid a deadly crash like wearing a seat-belt.

"You need to be a defensive driver, especially on the rural roads. These aren't fenced roads and have break down lanes, also don't be distracted," said McClintock.

According to the a weekly fatality report from the DOT there have already been three fatal crashes reported in 2019.

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