Wisconsin Car Accident Statistics

Every year, there are well over 100,000 motor vehicle collisions throughout Wisconsin leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured.  We examined six years of crash data from the Department of Transportation to show when, where, how, and who is involved in crashes across the state.

Crashes by Severity and Year

From 2015 through 2019, there was a steady increase in total crashes each year.  However,  that trend was interrupted in 2020 – an obvious result of the pandemic and ensuing response.  In 2020, there were 114,697 motor vehicle collisions in the state of Wisconsin –  a 21 percent decrease in crashes from 2019.

Crash Severity 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Fatal Crashes 513 524 539 517 511 540
Injury Crashes 29,845 31,066 30,614 29,959 28,791 23,747
Property Damage Crashes 91,255 97,461 108,717 113,736 115,986 90,410
Total Crashes 121,613 129,051 139,870 144,212 145,288 115,694

 

Interestingly, despite the dramatic decrease in total crashes, fatal crashes actually saw a slight increase.  This is consistent with what traffic safety organizations across the country have seen.  The consensus has been that while overall crashes decreased in 2020, dangerous behaviors such as speeding and impaired driving continued.

Wisconsin Drug and Alcohol-Related Collisions by Year and Severity

As previously mentioned, we also see an increase in deaths and injuries involving drugs and alcohol in 2020.  Overall crashes involving both impairments actually increased as well.

Alcohol-Related 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Alcohol-Related Crashes 5174 5153 6151 6255 6058 6050
Alcohol-Related Fatalities 190 143 169 160 140 167
Alcohol-Related Injuries 2872 2933 3303 3292 2918 3120
Alcohol-Related Serious Injuries 491 501 751 718 666 752

 

In 2020, drug-related crashes were at a six-year high – up 66 percent over 2015.

Drug-Related 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Drug-Related Crashes 815 762 1746 1724 1749 2250
Drug-Related Fatalities 149 118 72 59 59 80
Drug-Related Injuries 582 475 1187 1198 1099 1412
Drug-Related Serious Injuries 107 87 243 246 233 294

 

Wisconsin Alcohol Crashes and Injuries

Motor Vehicle Fatalities by Month

In Wisconsin, motor vehicle fatalities typically peak in the summer months during June, July, and August.  Interestingly, preliminary 2021 data shows a sharp spike in fatalities in August and October with 73 and 84 fatalities, respectively.

Wisconsin Crash Deaths by Month

Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021*
January 38 53 35 24 36
February 40 35 34 33 25
March 31 34 27 32 26
April 52 31 44 39 38
May 49 48 45 44 60
June 61 63 41 75 57
July 72 68 53 70 55
August 55 56 73 58 73
September 48 56 62 77 78
October 59 54 55 55 84
November 49 37 43 41 24
December 40 41 38 43 44

*2021 data is not finalized as of this publishing date

Wisconsin Crashes by Road Type

The majority of collisions take place in urban settings, with 38 percent of crashes occurring on urban city streets and 14 percent on urban highways. Conversely, 17 percent of crashes occurred on rural state highways and only 4 percent on rural streets.

Road Type 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Urban city street crashes 43332 48008 55064 56801 57601 44516
Rural city street crashes 4083 4219 7138 7111 7129 5513
Town road crashes 8751 8988 13216 11363 10922 9551
County highway crashes 12551 13847 12048 13628 12992 11439
Urban state highway crashes 19446 19019 17159 19068 19500 14792
Rural state highway crashes 23803 25007 23206 23323 23455 18767
Urban interstate crashes 5366 5223 6431 6762 7197 5273
Rural interstate crashes 4263 4740 5608 6156 5492 4846

Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Collisions By Year and County

At the county level, Milwaukee County has  – by far -the highest number of collisions annually, with 24,000 in 2020 alone.  Milwaukee County is followed by Dane (7,970), Waukesha (6,638), Racine (4,171), and Kenosha (3,375) counties to round out the top five.

County 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Adams 392 402 483 476 436 371
Ashland 242 290 359 316 331 244
Barron 677 715 876 873 761 708
Bayfield 346 347 401 362 321 277
Brown 3739 3862 4173 3986 4350 2886
Buffalo 223 260 284 256 251 250
Burnett 223 253 312 308 292 254
Calumet 809 827 914 847 850 710
Chippewa 1164 1308 1427 1397 1412 1172
Clark 510 574 552 631 637 555
Columbia 1461 1400 1495 1504 1472 1379
Crawford 330 343 373 338 321 273
Dane 11030 11825 12130 12418 11892 7970
Dodge 1514 1616 1581 1756 1722 1539
Door 869 895 907 873 930 698
Douglas 701 722 858 867 960 672
Dunn 873 826 870 812 915 637
Eau Claire 2238 2341 2870 2899 3269 1950
Florence 113 104 136 114 95 82
Fond Du Lac 2439 2328 2710 2786 2775 2326
Forest 183 190 179 203 213 174
Grant 1138 1276 1313 1326 1349 1191
Green 893 816 752 848 901 753
Green Lake 523 459 469 454 441 338
Iowa 377 427 481 514 566 468
Iron 90 69 81 84 112 89
Jackson 541 607 612 644 611 506
Jefferson 1482 1715 1848 1962 1901 1720
Juneau 731 775 828 889 865 653
Kenosha 3625 3881 4264 4266 4474 3735
Kewaunee 448 525 505 450 439 365
La Crosse 3075 3164 3532 3776 3882 2585
Lafayette 524 544 559 597 575 464
Langlade 381 409 532 568 455 440
Lincoln 680 681 866 852 784 664
Manitowoc 1939 2114 2377 2189 2329 1957
Marathon 2735 3062 3349 3352 3470 2492
Marinette 792 796 933 980 997 856
Marquette 394 381 430 423 396 302
Menominee 47 36 36 27 27 18
Milwaukee 24,170 24,938 26,494 28,478 29,594 24,376
Monroe 1159 1216 1385 1526 1426 1197
Oconto 388 419 996 866 651 504
Oneida 823 1004 1026 1007 972 810
Outagamie 3853 4108 4276 4344 4692 3277
Ozaukee 1541 1623 1697 1846 1843 1577
Pepin 142 142 134 125 105 103
Pierce 478 484 554 589 619 473
Polk 609 654 706 719 596 569
Portage 1262 1376 1570 1530 1626 1182
Price 169 193 192 205 188 190
Racine 4137 4145 4867 5356 5172 4171
Richland 474 456 480 469 461 344
Rock 3428 3888 4205 4558 4346 3636
Rusk 216 252 231 229 205 192
St. Croix 1957 2075 2295 2436 2523 2258
Sauk 1653 1628 1927 1978 1851 1487
Sawyer 227 245 314 336 305 305
Shawano 1269 1272 1499 1481 1547 1305
Sheboygan 1846 2592 2867 2905 3028 2609
Taylor 415 409 461 445 391 392
Trempealeau 474 541 484 559 582 498
Vernon 803 814 829 955 824 478
Vilas 484 575 557 526 543 469
Walworth 1710 1929 2181 2322 2332 2040
Washburn 321 364 390 386 356 300
Washington 3093 3310 3547 3680 3548 3041
Waukesha 7308 8061 8420 8589 8681 6638
Waupaca 1317 1359 1448 1361 1251 782
Waushara 598 732 662 582 585 480
Winnebago 3617 3877 4218 4208 4216 3216
Wood 1183 1205 1301 1393 1450 1075

 

How to Use this Information

A popular saying is that “knowledge is power”.  This specifically applies to motor vehicle and road safety.  Making yourself aware of the state of the roads around and when, where, and how collisions occur can help you make decisions to improve your overall safety.  Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of collision, even if you take every precaution possible.  As motorists, we are forced to rely on others to make good choices and operate their vehicles in a manner that keeps others safe.  When collisions do occur, a Milwaukee car accident attorney may be able to help you recover.