MARINETTE — The Marinette County Traffic Safety Commission was presented with the county’s current crash statistics Wednesday at its quarterly meeting.

Randy Wiessinger of the Bureau of Traffic Safety said one person is killed or injured in a crash each day in Marinette County. Three out of 10 are on county or state roads, and he said the peak time for crashes in Marinette County is between 2 and 3 p.m.

“Most of the counties that I’ve seen so far are 4 to 5 p.m. as the peak time,” he said.

According to Wiessinger, most of the crashes in the county involve county residents. “Even though you have a fair amount of traffic going through the county, most people crashing here are from here,” he said.

He said one of the main issue areas for the county is crashes involving impaired driving. He said 34 people are injured or killed in accidents involving a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol in an average year, which he said is about 25% of fatal crashes in the county. “Statewide it’s 33%, so you’re well under the state average for that same data set,” he said.

Wiessinger said the Division of State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technical Services (BOTSTS), which collected the data he referenced, recently started collecting data on crashes involving distracted driving. While most of the data he referenced so far looks at trends between 2014 and 2018, the distracted driving trends were taken from 2017 to 2018, making it a newer category. He said distracted driving was a contributing factor in 19% of injurious or fatal crashes in the county.

“The newest one that we’re looking at is lane departure crashes. It’s defined as any vehicle departing their lane of travel (and crashing). So if they go across the center line and hit another vehicle, that’s a lane departure crash. More often than not, it’s that they go off into the shoulder and hit a tree or whatever they hit, it all depends,” Weissinger said.

In Marinette County, he said 52% of crashes are lane departures, which he said is well over the state average of 35%.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about driver choices and behavior; we can’t enforce our way out of most of it, we can’t engineer our way out of most of it. It really comes down to public education and awareness, and making people realize that their choices have consequences,” Weissinger said.

Weissinger said the information he cited is available to the public through Community Maps. The link to the full 13 page summary he referenced is as follows: https://transportal.cee.wisc.edu/partners/community-maps/tsc_resources/CM%20profile%20files/2020/Marinette_2020.pdf