Deer-Related Crashes Down in Vilas County
Vilas County crash data was upgraded by Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation officials at a recent meeting of the county highway safety commission showing a decrease in vehicle-deer accidents, one fatality, and a significant decrease crashes by drivers age 65 and older.
Law enforcement liaison Randy Wiessinger indicated the one fatality in Vilas County happened on March 19 in the town of Lac du Flambeau on Highway 47 at Lower Sugarbush Lane just after 6:00 pm.
“It was a head on crash on a road with snow and ice,” Wiessinger said. “There was an additional person injured and alcohol was not considered a factor in the accident for either driver.” He added that last year up to this time there were three Vilas fatalities. As of August 24 statewide there was 348 vehicle fatalities this year compared to 336 at this time last year.
Vehicle-deer crashes continue to be a leading cause of accidents in Vilas and many northern counties but decreased in Vilas. There were 48 deer only crashes as of Aug. 1 this year compare to 65 last year.
Looking at all accidents in Vilas there were 174 so far this year compared to 259 last year, a significant decrease. Most noticeable was the decrease in crashes involving drivers age 65 and older dropping from 84 last year through Aug. 1 to 49 this year, a decrease of 42%.
The “stay at home” suggestions from the state due to the COVID-19 outbreak is thought to have lowered travel by elderly more that any other age group.
The two main reasons for crashes are speed and alcohol-drug abuse resulting in 68 accidents this year compared to 57 last year at this time. The county traffic highway safety commission meets quarterly.