This document was created by the Division of State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technical Services (BOTSTS). The data is based on three-year (2018 - 2020) trends.
The intention of this document is to assist Traffic Safety Commissions to examine their own transportation safety issues within their respective county and to identify potential countermeasures. While these crash and driver behavior trends are examined at the county level, these trends can be examined at a more local level. BOTSTS can provide this analysis and data to your local municipality.
For requests, email BOTSTS at CrashDataAnalysis@dot.wi.gov.
WisDOT has adopted Zero in Wisconsin, the belief that no one should be killed or seriously injured from using the road network. The aim of Zero in Wisconsin (otherwise known as Safe System, Vision Zero or Sustainable Safety) is for a world free from road fatalities and serious injuries.
The Haddon Matrix (below) models basic principles to be applied to safety analysis. Each cell of the matrix represents a different area in which countermeasures can be implemented to improve traffic safety. Countermeasures applied to the pre-crash phase are designed to reduce the number of crashes. Countermeasures that are applied to the crash phase would not stop the crash, but could reduce the number or severity of injuries that occur as a result. Countermeasures focusing on the post-crash phase optimize the outcome for people with injuries, and prevent secondary events. Learn more about this approach at the Federal Highway Administration and Zero in Wisconsin.
Per year in Portage County, an average of
|2,202 drivers are involved in a crash|
|December has the highest number of crashes|
|355 people are injured|
|September has the highest number of injury and fatal crashes|
|5 people are killed|
|Where||7 out of 10 injured or killed people are Portage County residents|
|3 out of 10 fatal and injury crashes occur on a county or state road||19 out of 20 injured or killed people are Wisconsin residents|
|4pm-5pm is the peak time for injury and fatal crashes|
Heat map of all crashes (2018 - 2020)
Explore crash hotspots in your local community in Community Maps. If you work for a public agency, you may request a log-in to gain access to advanced search and analysis capabilities.
On an average year in Portage County, Tuesday has the highest number of injury and fatal crashes. In addition, over a 24-hour period, injury and fatal crashes occur most frequently between 4pm-5pm peaking at 25 crashes in total throughout the year.
Here are trends of fatal, injury, and property damage crashes over the past 5 years.
Crashes on State roads are disproportionately represented in injury and fatal crashes. On roads with higher posted speed limits, there’s a higher risk for a severe injury or fatality if a crash were to occur.
Place of Residence
Place of Work
Total workers that work in Portage County:²
Of these, 79% also live in Portage County
Place of Residence
Place of Work
Total workers that live in Portage County:²
Of these, 80% also work in Portage County
Locals are more likely to be involved in a crash in Portage County as opposed to visitors. 74% of occupants injured or killed in a crash in Portage County also live in Portage County.
In Portage County, 39 people are injured or killed in a crash involving a driver believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, in an average year. That is 27% of all persons killed in a crash. Statewide, this is 33% of all persons killed.
While 74% of drivers believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol are male.
Hotspots of alcohol and drug-related crashes with an injury or fatality (2018 - 2020)
In Portage County, a driver being distracted is listed as a contributing factor in 15% of injury and fatal crashes. Statewide, this is 12% of injury and fatal crashes. Distracted driving is based on a two-year (2019-2020) trend due to a change in data fields. Below shows the breakdown of the factors in these distracted driving crashes.
Statewide seatbelt usage has been increasing over the past two decades. This past year experienced a usage rate of 89.2%, which is based on an annual seatbelt survey. Occupants not wearing a seatbelt are more likely to suffer a serious injury or fatality. Of the total statewide occupant fatalities, 1 out of 3 were not wearing a seatbelt. Statewide seatbelt usage rate reached an all time high in 2019.
People in your community can conduct their own seatbelt survey via the ‘Local Seatbelt Survey’ in the app store.
In the last 3 years in Portage County, 30 cyclists and 16 pedestrians were killed or injured in 39 crashes. The below two bar charts shows the contributing factors and where these crashes occurred.
A bike or pedestrian crash is more likely to happen in an urban area, however, a fatal or serious injury crash is more likely to occur in a rural area due to higher speeds and due to further distance from a trauma center.
Locations of injury and fatal bicycle crashes
Locations of injury and fatal pedestrian crashes
In the last 3 years in Portage County, 52 motorcyclists were killed or injured. Of these, 57% were not wearing a helmet.
Locations of injury and fatal motorcycle crashes
The type of helmet and other safety equipment worn, such as protective gear and gloves, can also impact the type of injury sustained.
45 motorcycle drivers were involved in a fatal or injury crash. 98% were Wisconsin drivers. Of these, 36% did not have a valid M endorsement.
In Portage County, teen or older drivers make up 22% of drivers involved in a fatal or injury crash. Statewide, this is 19% of drivers in fatal and injury crashes.
Breaking this down for Portage County:
187 teen drivers make up 9% of drivers involved in a crash and make up 5% of licensed drivers and
305 older drivers make up 14% of drivers involved a crash and make up 21% of licensed drivers.
Locations of injury and fatal crashes involving a teen driver Locations of injury and fatal crashes involving an older driver
More lane departure crashes occur in Portage County, out of total injury and fatal crashes, compared to the state. That is an average of 108 fatal and injury lane departure crashes per year. Colliding with a Ditch/Culvert was the most frequent first harmful event. Breaking this up, 81% are single vehicle only, while statewide 75% are.
A lane departure crash is defined as when the driver crosses the centerline, edge line, or leaves the roadway and then usually colliding with another vehicle or an object, such as a guardrail or a tree. The cause of a lane departure crash could be a mixture of factors – speeding, being impaired by alcohol, or feeling tired.
Below shows the breakdown of the first harmful event in these lane departure crashes.
Speeding includes both exceeding the speed limit and driving too fast for conditions. Speeding has a compounded affect in a crash; decreasing speed can reduce the crash risk, reduce injury severity, and make it possible to control the vehicle if an event were to occur. Of all fatal and injury crashes, 27% involved speed as a contributing factor resulting in 99 fatalities and injuries in an average year. Statewide, this is 20% of fatal and injury crashes.
Comparing to road type by lane miles, State roads are the most disportionate road type for fatal and injury speed crashes.
Here are trends of all speeding-related crashes over the past 5 years.
1 out of 4 of all crashes where speed is a factor involves a young driver.
Hotspots and analysis areas of all crashes involving a speeding driver
Predictive Analytics is an emerging program that uses established crash trends to identify “hotspots” in a particular locality. The program is geared to promote changes in driving culture in and around crash hotspots, with a particular focus on outreach. Utilizing a Safe Systems Approach, Predictive Analytics introduces multi-pronged solutions that involves a wide array of partners and stakeholders in traffic safety working together to reduce injury crashes.
A county or municipality may use whatever method they decide to select their own hotspots. But utilizing Community Maps, a jurisdiction can target areas that have a demonstrated history of injury crashes. For example, using the search components on the left give us the following map, with several hotspots to choose between: