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Wisconsin Drivers: How Do They Stack Up Against Other States’ Drivers?

The rate of risky driving and fatal accidents varies from state to state, leading many Wisconsinites to wonder where their state stands in the rankings. Reckless behaviors like speeding and drunk driving occur much more often than they should, affecting the state’s ranking. But Wisconsin is far from being the worst state to drive in.

National data factors in seat belt use, speeding tickets, drunk driving arrests, and road information such as speed limits to determine driver ranking. This data suggests that Wisconsin drivers have room for improvement on the road.

Explore how Wisconsin drivers rank compared to other states’ drivers and how a Wisconsin car accident lawyer can help victims of negligent drivers collect compensation for their injuries.

Are Wisconsinites Good Drivers?

Based on national traffic crash reports from 2022, Wisconsin is the 22nd-worst state to drive in. Data from fatal car accidents that involve speeding, drunk driving, and careless driving, along with the overall death rate, are used to rank each state.

Wisconsin sees 1.07 collision-related deaths for every 100 million miles traveled by drivers, with the national average at 1.34. However, there are 10.53 collision-related deaths for every 100,000 people in the state, which is only slightly below the national average of 11.78.

These stats show Wisconsin is slightly above average when it comes to driver safety among all states, but there are still too many crashes and deaths caused by drivers on Wisconsin roads.

How Do We Compare Drivers?

Though Wisconsinites rank as the 22nd-worst drivers overall, that ranking is influenced by multiple individual statistics. The driver’s actions significantly impact driver safety and car accident fatalities.

  • Seat Belt Use: 2021 data by the NHTSA showed that about 88.1% of vehicle occupants in Wisconsin use their seat belts. Comparatively, only 16 states had lower rates of seat belt use. Similarly, an estimated 54% of people killed in a car accident in Wisconsin were not wearing their seat belts. The U.S. average was 51%.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a much larger problem in Wisconsin than in many other states. In 2020, high vehicle speeds were responsible for 35% of Wisconsin’s fatal traffic accidents. By comparison, the national average was 29%.
  • Drunk Driving: While speeding is responsible for most deadly accidents in Wisconsin, drunk driving follows closely behind. Wisconsin ranks 12th out of all states for drunk driving fatalities. In 34% of the state’s fatal crashes, at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08 or higher, while 22% had a BAC of over 0.15. In contrast, the national rates were 30% and 20%, respectively.

Wisconsin and Road Safety

Though individual driver behavior significantly impacts road safety, the rate of fatal car accidents can also be influenced by legal and geographical factors outside our personal control.

Rural Roads

Fatal collisions are more common on rural roads, which comprise much of Wisconsin’s roadways. 2020 data shows that 62% of fatal car accidents in Wisconsin occurred on rural roads.

Rural roads often have longer distances between stops and fewer vehicles on them. This can encourage risky driving behavior like speeding or driving drunk. However, these dangerous behaviors make it difficult to react quickly if another vehicle enters the road, which can result in a collision.

Rural roads are often farther away from medical facilities and emergency dispatch centers. If someone is seriously injured in an accident, the time it takes an ambulance to reach the crash may result in death.

Higher Speed Limits

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that higher speed limits are associated with higher rates of speeding and increased crash fatalities. Even increasing the statewide speed limit by 5 MPH caused highway fatalities to rise by 8%.

However, Wisconsin’s statewide speed limit is particularly high. If there is no posted speed limit, you must drive 65 MPH on expressways, 70 MPH on freeways, and 55 MPH on all other roads. Urban areas are more likely to have lower posted speed limits, but this does not protect drivers on highways or rural roads.

Winter Weather

Like much of the Midwest, Wisconsin often sees significant snow and ice during the winter months. These weather conditions can make driving hazardous: vehicles not equipped for snowy or icy roads have greater difficulty gripping the road, putting them at greater risk of a crash. Heavy snow can also obscure visibility, making it difficult to see other vehicles on the road.

Victim of a Bad Driver? Consult Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers

Some bad drivers are merely an annoyance, but others pose a significant danger on the road. A car accident with a negligent driver can result in serious injuries, lifelong disability, or death. If you or a loved one were seriously injured by a driver’s neglect or error of judgment, Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you collect compensation for your injuries.

The attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers provide legal assistance to victims of careless or negligent drivers. Our dedicated legal team will help you construct a powerful claim to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.

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