Wisconsin DOT: July was deadliest month on roads this year

Buckle up to reduce your odds of injury, death
Posted at 11:23 AM, Aug 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-25 16:16:38-04

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently released data showing July as the deadliest month on the roads this year. 66 people died on the roads last month, which is three more than July 2016, and 11 more than DOT's five-year average.

The Wisconsin Bureau of Transportation Safety found 51.6% of road fatalities were unbelted. Drivers Larry Saldana, Annetta Williams, and April Reid say they're not surprised, and say it's everyone's obligation to wear their seat belt.

"Click it or Ticket," says Reid.

"Because it's the law," says Saldana.

Williams says she's spent more time focusing on seat belt safety with everyone who rides with her because of a recent incident.

"I got hit from the back, everyone was wearing their seat belt. So, luckily by God's hand, we were all safe. But just the fact that if we weren't wearing our seat belts what could have happened," says Williams.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, IIHS, says more than half of car crash deaths in the United States are because of un-belted riders and drivers. Greenfield's Firefighter Paramedics have seen this data firsthand.

Devin Shade has been a Firefighter Paramedic for two years. He says no matter the directional impact from the crash, inertia is going to move you and the car. 

"Your body is going to start going that way, whether you're a small child or a large adult. That seat belt keeps you in that position at all times," says Shade.

An IIHS 2016 survey of 1,172 adults 18 and older from June to August and found only 72% wear their seat belts in the back seat. As a Greenfield Firefighter Paramedic for the last six years, Chad Tremelling says that can be worse. If nearly 30% of backseat riders aren't wearing belts, it increases the chances of passengers slamming directly into the driver, windshield, or being thrown out a window.

"The back seat is even more important because you typically don't have those airbags, you don't have those other things in the backseat that are going to protect you," says Tremelling.

Wisconsin's Bureau of Transportation Safety data from January till now shows 43.1% of fatalities were not belted. Shade and Tremelling say the choice on seat belt safety should be easy.

"Honestly I've never taken a seat belt off a dead person," says Shade.

The annual Dive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is in effect through labor day. Law enforcement says they're looking for impaired drivers, as well as, other violations. So everyone is encouraged to slow down, driver sober, and buckle up.