Skip to main content
OWI attorney Madison WI

Leading Causes of Car Crashes in Wisconsin

3 Factors That Rank as Leading Causes of Car Crashes in Wisconsin

Car crashes are common throughout the United States, including in Wisconsin. Despite improvements in automobile safety and even in spite of the reduced number of hours driven during the COVID-19 pandemic, accident rates are up. What is even worse, fatal car accident rates have increased as well.

There are three primary factors behind this increase in accidents: speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving.


The latest data provided by the state’s Department of Transportation’s Final Year-End Crash Statistics report is for 2020. During that year, there were 540 deaths associated with driving accidents in the state. Speeding contributed to 15,995 car crashes and 194 deaths that year, making it the single largest contributor to auto accidents. Excessive speed is particularly dangerous because it increases the risks associated with driving in many different ways. Speeding can:

  • Reduce a driver’s ability to safely steer.
  • Increase the stopping distance required.
  • Increase the possibility of losing control of the vehicle.
  • Limit the effectiveness of seat belts, airbags, and other safety devices

Drunk Driving

There were 6,050 alcohol-related car crashes in the state in 2020. The number of accidents involving alcohol has trended slightly downward since 2017, but the number of fatalities associated with drunk driving has been increasing. Although the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Wisconsin drivers is .08, there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption when driving. Even if a driver is under the legal limit, he or she can experience impaired reactions by:

  • Causing drivers to feel drowsy and have trouble concentrating.
  • Affecting vision and hearing.
  • Disrupting coordination and the sense of balance.
  • Affecting reaction times.
  • Affecting reasoning and judgment.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving continues to contribute to car crashes in Wisconsin too. Anything that pulls attention away from the focus on driving qualifies as a distraction, including visual, audio, or cognitive distractions. Common examples include texting and talking on the phone, goofing around in the car, listening to excessively loud music, eating, applying makeup, shaving, or looking for items in a purse or bag. The risk of serious injury increases the faster the car is going. At 55 mph, a car will cover the length of a football field in just 5 seconds. That is an enormous distance to traverse without having eyes on the road and demonstrates just how dangerous distracted driving can be.

Recovering From Wisconsin Car Crashes

Car accidents can cause physical and emotional trauma and you may need assistance recovering from them. The car accident attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison help drivers, accident victims, and the victims’ loved ones pursue injury and wrongful death claims to assist in this recovery. The financial impacts of car accidents are real and they can be devastating to a person’s financial situation.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident and need help paying medical bills or living expenses due to a loss of income or function, contact our office. Schedule a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing