Deadly year for Wisconsin roadways, so far

So far this year, 178 people have died on the Wisconsin roadways

We’re only five months into 2015 but more than 170 people have already died in traffic-related accidents; making this one of the deadliest years on Wisconsin roadways.

David Butterfuss,a drywaller, travels hundreds of miles each day for his job.

“From Camp Douglas to La Crosse, to Minnesota, to wherever,” Butterfuss said.

So far this year, 178 people have died on the Wisconsin roadways he’s often on. Butterfuss said he’s not surprised.

“People cutting you off, people texting; see a lot of the texting,” Butterfuss said.

That’s just one of the reasons state troopers said 2015 is a deadly year.

“It’s seatbelts not being used, it’s drinking and driving, and it’s high speeds,” Trooper Ryan Smith said.

Smith said in his 15 years of patrolling he’s never seen more people out on the road, and more people means more accidents.

“The winter was pretty mild; you probably had more people out on the roads driving, compared to past winters where it would be so bad, the roads would be so bad,” Smith said.

Troopers are also noticing more and more distracted drivers.

“Not just when I’m working, I mean when I’m off duty just driving in my personal vehicle I am seeing a lot more people on their phones,” Smith said.

Right now, texting while driving in Wisconsin is illegal;  using your phone for other reasons is not. But if phone calls or other things lead to sloppy driving like swerving into other lanes, law enforcement officers can ticket you.

“I can issue a citation for inattentive driving, so that’s where that part is covered,” Smith said.

Troopers and drivers alike say everyone on Wisconsin roads can put a stop to the climbing death toll.

“Everyone needs to get back on track with principles, as far like, being safe, buckle up,” Smith said.

“Just paying attention to the road and doing the speed limit,” Butterfuss said.

More Americans are expected to hit the road this Memorial weekend, than they have in the last 10 years. Because of the increase in travel and the Click It or Ticket Campaign, more troopers will be out on the roads, working to keep that fatality number under 180.

Just last year, Wisconsin saw its lowest number of traffic-related deaths in 71 years.