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Ron Larson. Photo: Wisconsin State Journal/John Maniaci

Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources on compiled by Ron Larson. On the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to some of these gems.

A recent traffic crash in Fitchburg claimed the lives of four young men, and the driver has been tentatively charged with four counts of homicide by drunken driving.

According to a national survey, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunken driving.

And the toll is steep. In 2010, Wisconsin Department of Transportation statistics show, 39 percent of the 562 traffic fatalities in Wisconsin involved alcohol.

Traffic fatalities were under 600 for each of the past four years. That’s far less than 40 years ago, when the number of fatalities consistently reached the 1,000 mark despite there being far fewer registered vehicles. Improvements in automobile safety have undoubtedly helped in lowering the fatalities over the past four decades. But just think how much lower the death rate could be if Wisconsin was really serious in passing anti-drunken driving legislation.

You can read more about Wisconsin traffic accidents at Wisconsin InfoLink; choose accidents, and then Wisconsin traffic accidents by year or Worst single traffic accidents.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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