WEST SALEM, WI (WXOW)—The number of people killed in Wisconsin traffic crashes increased in 2012, after four consecutive years of decline.
601 people died on Wisconsin roads last year, 36 more than 2011.
Nearly half of the people who died last year were not wearing seat belts.
Less people wear seat belts in Wisconsin than the national average.
In Wisconsin, 80-percent of people surveyed by the department of transportation said they wore a seat belt; the national average is 86-percent.
That is even less than neighboring states with 90-percent of people wearing seat belts.
Motorists who are hurt or killed in traffic accidents because they didn't buckle up cost tax payers money too.
In 2010, it cost more than $2.5 billion in higher insurance premiums and taxes.
But the DOT says you should wear your seat belt, simply, for safety.
"You may not be worried about yourself," Trooper Matthew Chambers, State Patrol said. "But if there are other people in the vehicle, in an accident where a vehicle may tumble or you're traveling at a high rate of speed and you hit a car and you suddenly stop, people could be tossed around in the vehicle."
DOT said seat belt use by drivers in Wisconsin is the lowest among 16 to 25 year olds at 72.1-percent; 77.7-percent of 26-59-year-olds and 81.6-percent of people over 60.
16 to 25 year-old passengers wear their seat belt least too with 68.8 percent, it's highest among passengers over 60 with 86.1-percent and second highest among children under four-years-old with 84-percent.
To help increase the number of Wisconsin drivers wearing seat belts, State Patrol plans to step up the their Click-it or Ticket campaign in May.
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