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High gas prices may be linked to fewer traffic deaths

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s average gas prices remain above $4 a gallon Friday morning.

The AAA said regular unleaded cost almost $4.02, up by just over a penny from Thursday when the $4 plateau was exceeded for the first time in over a year.

Experts blame the high prices on two Chicago area refineries that have been shut down for repairs and refurbishing.

One silver lining to the high gas prices could be a reduction in traffic deaths.

According to the state DOT’s preliminary figures, 33 people died in Wisconsin highway crashes last month – the fewest for May since the end of World War II in the mid-1940’s.

There were 19 fewer traffic deaths last month than the same time a year ago.

For the year as a whole, the Badger State has had 168 traffic deaths – 38 fewer than in the first five months of 2012.

Traffic was projected to be down over the Memorial Day weekend, and the DOT’s figures reflected it.

Five people were killed in holiday weekend crashes, down from 8 last year and a norm of 9.

State officials credit extra seat belt enforcement from the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, and improvements in road engineering and driver education.