If you’ve driven past one of the large electronic information signs along a Michigan highway, chances are you’ve noticed a tally of traffic crash deaths. These displays are part of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Toward Zero Deaths campaign. MDOT’s participation is part of an ambitious national effort to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities.
If you’ve been keeping track, however, you may have noticed the number of deaths has actually been increasing over the last two years. In fact, 2016 was the first time since 2007 the number of deaths in Michigan topped 1,000. If the current rate continues, it appears traffic fatalities will dip just below 1,000 this year, but still exceed 2015’s total. And it’s possible the rate will increase during the winter months and holiday travel at the end of the year.
Michigan is not alone in experiencing an increase in fatal crashes. A quick glance at the last 10 years shows some ups and downs, but until recently there had been a clear decrease following 2006 and 2007. One factor many experts cite for the jump is distracted driving. Other possible explanations include motorists keeping and driving older vehicles (with less safety technology) longer, and a revived economy causing more people to drive.
Whatever the cause, fatal traffic crashes continue to be a growing problem in Michigan. Do your part by driving carefully and never driving distracted.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.