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Traffic Fatalities Rises Across Wisconsin Nearly 6 Percent

The Wisconsin Department Of Transportation released new information this week relating to the number of traffic related deaths. In 2016, there were 588 traffic fatalities, that's a nearly 6 percent increase than 2015.

But what maybe more shocking, is the fact that around 90 percent of those crashes were because of driver's bad decisions and dangerous habits behind the wheel, and could have been prevented.

Lt. Nathan Clarke with Wisconsin State Patrol says there are a couple of things that could contribute to more accidents. He says lower gas prices and an improving economy likely meant more cars were on the road and more miles were traveled, which translates into more accidents.

Lt. Clarke also says drivers are easily distracted, with things like cell phones.

That’s why the DOT has invested in campaigns and billboards to better educate the public about the dangerous combination between phones and driving.

“Most people definitely see a problem with drunk driving. We’ve kind of educated the public to say that that is something that you don’t want to engage in. But what we really need to do is really get people to understand that no texting is that important. And that you can’t wait until you’re in a safe position on the side of the roadway to engage in the texting behavior,” Lt. Clarke explained.

The state also has a new crash database that reports in real time. That will allow patrols to be deployed to try to find and reduce problems and accidents.

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