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Deadly February leads to 32 percent uptick in traffic deaths

Traffic deaths on Wisconsin roadways are up nearly a third compared from what they were in the same time period of 2015, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Last month, 47 people died in traffic crashes around the state. That number was 22 more than in February of last year, according to a release from WisDOT.

This brings the number of deaths this year to 79. That was 19 more than were recorded by the same point last year and showed an increase of 32 percent. The 79 deaths recorded this year so far are also 15 higher than the five-year average for this time of year.

“Typically, February is a low traffic fatality month,” David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety, said in a news release. “However, we had an unusually deadly weekend that accounted for nearly 24 percent of the fatalities for the month.”

From Feb. 19 to Feb. 21, 11 people died in traffic crashes, he said. Three of the crashes led to multiple deaths.

An incident in Columbia County, for instance, left three people dead.

“That was the deadliest weekend on Wisconsin roads since August 2015,” Pabst said, calling for more drivers to buckle their seatbelts, slow down and drive sober.

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