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Wisconsin could finish with lowest traffic deaths since WWII

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin is about to finish one of the safest years on the state's roadways since the 1940's.  

As of last Sunday, the state DOT said 519 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the Badger State this year. That's well below last year's total of 601.  

Michael Panosh of the DOT's transportation safety bureau said 2013 could end up having the fewest traffic deaths since World War II. To achieve that, the final number would have to be below 2009's total of 542 deaths.  

Law enforcement officials point to their own traffic safety efforts in explaining part of the drop in fatalities. They include stricter enforcement, and more education about the dangers of driving drunk and not wearing seat belts.  

Also, we recently learned there are a lot fewer vehicles on the road. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group said folks in the Milwaukee and Madison areas reduced their driving by about 20 percent from 2006 through 2011.  

Panosh said motorcycle deaths were down due to this year's late winter. And gasoline prices remain relatively high. The AAA said Friday's statewide average of regular unleaded is $3.21 a gallon -- just under a penny more than on this date a year ago.  

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)