Police: Wisconsin seeing “significantly more” road-related deaths in 2015

Wisconsin State Patrol logo on side of car door

Wisconsin is seeing a major spike in traffic deaths. So far this year 446 people died in highway crashes in the state, 70 more than this time last year, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

State troopers said the uptick in deaths can be blamed on a number of things. While they won’t connect the road deaths to the higher speed limit directly, they do say the changes have contributed to some risky behaviors.

“There are some people that are going faster, that have adjusted, if they went 10 over before they are going 10 over now,” Wisconsin State Trooper Mark Yackley said.

Some drivers said they’ve noticed that some people are having difficulty adjusting to the change, causing a potentially dangerous situation. 

“I think people really don’t want to go over 70 and they’re riding in the left lane at 70 and I think it’s creating a problem that way, people need to get over if they are doing 70 mph,” driver Jim Yonker said.

Yackley said there are other factors to blame for the 446 deaths.

“It’s likely that we will have a record year overall for the number of vehicles hitting the roads, the miles driven and it certainly seems that lower gas prices are playing a large part in that,” he said.

No matter what the cause, troopers say you can keep the number of deaths down by following basic road rules.

“You’ve got to slow down the new 70 mile an hour speed limit, that’s under optimal conditions,” he said.