Wisconsin sees significant increase in wrong-way fatal crashes

From 2015 to 2018 Wisconsin saw a 230% increase in wrong way crashes from the 5 previous years.
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 12:45 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - AAA Auto Club Group says Wisconsin is heading the wrong way with “wrong-way” crashes. Wisconsin is one of the top five states seeing an increase.

Their study shows the average number of deaths from wrong-way driving crashes on divided highways in the state from 2015 to 2018 was 230% higher than the previous 5 years. That more than six times higher than the nationwide increase of 32%.

“You have to remember that driving is a big responsibility with high stakes and that it’s up to all of us to do a better job of making sure we’re as safe as we can be behind the wheel,” Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA said.

Researchers found that wrong-way driving increased with alcohol-impairment, driving without a passenger, and older age. Data shows that drivers over age 70 are more at risk of wrong-way driving than their younger counterparts.

Nationally six in 10 wrong-way crashes involved alcohol. It was also found that 87% of wrong-way drivers were alone and distracted. Jarmusz said these statistics prove that these crashes could have been avoided.

“Crashes are not accidents, they don’t simply happen. It’s not simply, a natural phenomenon or the cost of being on the road. It is something that we can reduce and in fact eliminate if we all did a better job,” Jarmusz said.

AAA suggests if you see a wrong-way driver coming at you, move to the right shoulder without swerving or slamming on the breaks to avoid a crash. Then call 911 and report the incident.

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