Seatbelt use in state lags behind neighbors

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a report highlighting progress made toward safer Wisconsin roads.

The Spring 2015 Safety Report is one component of the quarterly MAPSS Performance Improvement Report, which rates how well the department is doing in the five core goal areas of mobility, accountability, preservation, safety and service.

“Safety is a primary concern for DOT and the numbers show our efforts in engineering, education and enforcement,” DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said. “Last year saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1943. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a troubling trend in 2015 with traffic deaths up significantly from this same time last year.”

Dave Pabst, director of the Division of State Patrol’s Bureau of Transportation Safety, indicated there is no single cause for the growing trend, but said lower fuel prices and better weather has likely contributed to the increase. “We’re taking a deep look into the data to see if we can gain better insight on the specific causes so we can effectively address them,” Pabst said.

Public education and enforcement campaigns play a key role in increasing driver awareness of traffic safety.

The Click It or Ticket National Enforcement Mobilization will kick off on May 18 and run through May 31, 2015.

The campaign encourages drivers and passengers to use their seat belts. The MAPSS Scorecard shows Wisconsin’s current seat belt use is at an alltime high of 84.7 percent. The department has a goal to reach a compliance rate of 86 percent by 2016. Currently, Wisconsin lags behind Michigan and Illinois who boast a 90 percent usage rate.

The complete MAPSS Scorecard and Performance Report, are available on DOT’s website at

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