Preliminary data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation indicates that 41 people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes last month, making it the safest September in terms of traffic deaths since the end of World War II.

Traffic fatalities last month were six fewer than September 2016 and 16 fewer compared to the five-year average for September. The deadliest September occurred in 1973 with 116 deaths.

Over the first nine months of this year, a total of 438 people have died in Wisconsin traffic crashes, including 65 motorcyclists, 44 pedestrians and three bicyclists. Traffic deaths through September were one less compared to the same period last year and 19 more than the five-year average.

"As we head into the fall season, motorists will need to be aware of decreasing hours of daylight, the potential for inclement weather and increased deer activity along roadways," said David Pabst, director of WisDOT's Bureau of Transportation Safety. "So we're reminding all drivers and passengers to buckle up, travel at a safe, appropriate speed, set aside the cellphone when you're behind the wheel, and stay focused on what's happening around you."