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February Wisconsin traffic deaths about average, but could be fewer


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  Wisconsin traffic crashes killed 28 people last month. February was tied for the fifth safest month of February in terms of traffic deaths in Wisconsin since the end of World War II... but an average of one death a day is a statistic that can be improved upon.

Major Sandra Huxtable from the Wisconsin State Patrol says February of 2012 was worse because of a couple of very bad crashes.  "Last year in 2012, we had a couple of very significant multiple-fatality (crashes), a couple of four person and three person fatality (crashes) that really spiked our numbers last February.”

The Major says there is one common thing that investigators have noticed about the high number of traffic fatalities.  "When we looked at the information from 2012, we saw that there were a high number of unbelted or unrestrained passengers that were being ejected and killed in these crashes that were happening, higher than we'd seen in the past."

Seat belt laws are being enforced more strictly. So, what if you are pulled over and your passenger is not buckled up? Is it your ticket or the passenger’s ticket?  Huxtable says, "Actually, it's both of your tickets.  We'll cite the unrestrained passenger if they're over the age of 16 and then we will cite the driver for having an unrestrained passenger."  

There are citations and fines for not using seat belts, but Huxtable says there are no points assessed against your license.  She says it can affect your insurance rates, though.