Fatalities in six out of nine fatal crashes in Dane County between July and September could have been prevented by seat belts or helmets, according to a traffic safety group.
The nine crashes resulted in a total of 11 deaths, the Dane County Traffic Safety Commission, a coalition of 48 public and private organizations working to improve traffic safety, reported Tuesday.
In three of the fatal crashes, the driver or passenger was not wearing a seat belt. Three of the other fatal crashes involved motorcyclists or bicyclists not wearing a helmet.
According to a crash database maintained by the state Department of Transportation, 42% of all motorist crash deaths in Dane County in the first three quarters of 2022 involved drivers or passengers without seat belts. In the last six years, 80% of bicyclists killed in crashes in Dane County were not wearing helmets, according to the traffic safety group.
“There is a clear relationship between not using seat belts and the likelihood of dying or being severely injured in a crash,” said Sgt. Matt Meyer of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, who also serves as the commission’s co-chair. “Persons not wearing seat belts in Wisconsin were seven times more likely to die, and three times more likely to suffer a serious injury in a traffic crash.”
Seat belt and helmet use dropped to 88.2% last year in Dane County, after reaching an all-time high of 90% in 2019, Meyer said.
Photos: Looking back at deadly 100-car pileup on foggy interstate in 2008