Increase in Traffic Fatalities
May 5, 2017
Newly released data from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center shows a 10% increase in Michigan traffic accident deaths for the second year in a row. A total of 1,064 people died on Michigan roads during 2016, compared to 963 traffic deaths in 2015. This is the first time there have been more than 1,000 Michigan traffic fatalities since 2007. There were also increases in the number of car crashes (5%), injuries (8%) and serious injuries (16%), according to information published by the Office of Highway Safety Planning website today.
|Michigan Traffic Crashes||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012|
Source: Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning
The increases in Michigan are part of a nation-wide trend, which included a 6% rise in traffic deaths across the United States. Part of the reason is a 3% increase in the number of miles driven, attributable in part to lower gas prices and an improved economy.
Statistics included 55 deaths in 2016 attributed to distracted driving. While the month of April was designated as national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, traffic authorities urge drivers year-round to avoid distractions such as making and receiving cell phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, setting GPS directions and fiddling with the car radio or other electronic devices.
Michigan law prohibits a driver from reading, manually typing, or sending text messages while driving, which the law defines as operating a moving motor vehicle on a street or highway. Exceptions to the law include using a cell phone to report a crash, crime or other emergencies.
According to the National Safety Council, the cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2016 added up to approximately $432.5 billion, an increase of 12% from 2015. This figure includes lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, property damage and other costs.
“Motor vehicle accidents can result in long-term costs that go beyond the immediate medical bills, so it’s important to contact an experienced auto accident attorney if you or a loved one are involved in a crash,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.
Other fatality increases:
Bicyclists: 2016: 38 2015: 33 Increase: 15%
Drug-involved fatalities: 2016: 236 2015: 179 Increase: 32%
Motorcyclist deaths: 2016: 141 2015: 138 Increase: 2%
On a positive note, there was an 11% drop in alcohol-related traffic deaths, from 303 in 2015 to 271 in 2016, a seven percent decline in fatalities involving young drivers (age 16-20), from 158 in 2015 to 147 in 2016, and a 3% decrease in pedestrian fatalities, from 170 in 2015 to 165 in 2016.