In Wisconsin, AAA officials want everyone to make a New Year’s resolution for 2021 – stop referring to car crashes as accidents.
The auto group points to deadly statistics on Wisconsin roadways as a primary reason. Despite significantly fewer cars on the road in 2020, traffic fatalities rose by 7%.
Few crashes are unavoidable
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation released preliminary highway fatality data for 2020, showing 589 people died on state roadways last year. That compares to 550 in 2019. While both those figures are not official, safety advocates say they are disturbing, given fewer people were driving.
AAA says the word “accident” is used almost synonymously with “crash” when it comes to car collisions. However, an accident implies that these incidents are unavoidable. While no one wants to get into a crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 94% of all crashes result from driver error.
The “big three” car crash causes
AAA illustrates its point that most of these incidents are avoidable by listing the most common causes of crashes:
- Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs
- Speeding or driving too fast for road conditions
- Distracted driving
Fatalities rose in Dane County in 2020
Last year was also a deadly one in the Middleton area as Dane County saw 31 traffic deaths compared to 25 in 2019. Milwaukee County was responsible for nearly one out of every six fatalities across the state in 2020, registering 100 deaths, an increase of 26 from the year before.