Transportation officials are attributing a sharp increase in the number of traffic deaths in Wisconsin this year to low gas prices and warmer weather.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that 79 people were killed on state roads in January and February, compared with 60 people during the same period last year. The five-year average is 64 people killed over the two-month period.
February is usually one of the months with the fewest traffic fatalities, but Feb. 19 to 21 was a particularly deadly weekend in which 11 people were killed, including a triple fatality crash in Columbia County.
Experts believe more people were traveling that weekend because of unseasonably mild weather and historically low gas prices.
The average temperature in Milwaukee this February was nearly 3 degrees above normal.