(NEWS RELEASE) -- Last month, 48 people died in crashes on Wisconsin roadways, which tied it for the third safest month of May in terms of traffic deaths since the end of World War II, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
The safest month of April occurred last year with 32 traffic fatalities, and the deadliest May was in 1968 with 123 fatalities.
Traffic fatalities last month were 16 more than May 2013 and one fewer than the five-year average for the month of May.
Eleven people died in traffic crashes during the Memorial Day weekend. Last year, eight people died during the holiday weekend.
As of May 31, a total of 164 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes this year, including 18 motorcycle drivers, two motorcycle passengers, 18 pedestrians, and one bicyclist. Traffic deaths through May were one fewer than the same period in 2013 and 22 fewer than the five-year average.
"Because of an increase in traffic volumes and vehicle speeds, the warm weather months typically are high fatality months. Higher speeds make crashes more violent and less survivable," says David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. "Last year, there were more than 21,000 speed-related crashes in Wisconsin that killed 156 people and injured more than 8,000. To crack down on speeding and other dangerous driving behavior, law enforcement officers will be out in force this summer.
The Wisconsin State Patrol also will be using its aircraft for aerial enforcement. The dates, times and locations of many of the aerial enforcement missions will be announced in advance on Twitter (@WisconsinDOT, #WisDOT). The goal is not to write more tickets. We’re striving to get drivers to slow down, which will help prevent crashes that needlessly kill or injure far too many people."