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Wisconsin ends 2012 with 601 traffic deaths, 6% more than 2011

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MADISON — Wisconsin ended 2012 with 601 traffic deaths, which was 36 more, or about 6%, than 2011 and two more than the previous five-year average, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 

Traffic fatalities in Wisconsin last year also ended four consecutive years of fewer than 600 annual traffic fatalities.

Before the 2008 to 2011 period, the last time the state had fewer than 600 traffic fatalities for four years in a row was from 1924 to 1927. 

The traffic fatalities total for last year included 101 motorcycle drivers, 13 motorcycle passengers, 44 pedestrians and 10 bicyclists. 

Nationally, traffic fatalities were up about 7% for the first nine months of 2012 compared with 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Besides Wisconsin, preliminary statistics indicate that double-digit increases in traffic fatalities were experienced in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. 

 “Assessing the devastating effects of traffic fatalities is more than just numbers and statistics. Each number was a person. And we know all too well that many of the traffic deaths last year could have been prevented if motorists had slowed down, paid attention, drove sober and buckled up. We all must do everything we can to drive and ride responsibly and safely, every trip, every time, so we can one day reach zero preventable deaths in Wisconsin,” State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable said.