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July was the deadliest month on Wisconsin roads so far this year

This accident occurred along Hwy. 65 south of New Richmond. The man driving this vehicle was injured and transported, but the accident didn't result in a fatality. The last fatality in St. Croix County occurred in June and though July was the deadliest month in the state, St. Croix didn't have a single fatality. (Raymond T. Rivard photograph)

But not in St. Croix County ...

St. Croix County was spared from traffic deaths during a month that was unusually high across the rest of Wisconsin. The state, according the thw Department of Transportation, recorded 60 fatalities in July -- 21 more than this point a year ago.

Meanwhile, St. Croix County's fatality tally stands at four for the year.

"We're at a number that this of the year, we haven't seen in a long time," said St. Croix County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Scott Knudson.

He said the county's last two traffic deaths occurred in June.

Although traffic deaths across the state last month were higher than the three previous years, it still was the eighth safest month of July in terms of traffic deaths since the end of World War II. Wisconsin’s safest month of July was in 2015 with 39 fatalities. The deadliest months of July occurred in 1966 and 1971 with 140 fatalities.

As of July 31, a total of 338 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes in 2016, including 42 motorcycle operators, four motorcycle passengers, 24 pedestrians and nine bicyclists. Traffic deaths through July were 48 more than during the same period in 2015 and 48 more than the five-year average.

Drunken driving continues to kill and injure people at an alarming rate, according to David Pabst, director of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety.

"To save lives and prevent injuries, law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin will be out in force to combat drunken driving during the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from August 19 to September 5," Pabst says. "Tragically, drunken driving is still prevalent and deadly in Wisconsin. It also is entirely preventable. Last year in Wisconsin, 190 people were killed and nearly 2,900 were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes."