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In 2016, the standard Michigan State Police traffic crash form was revised to include a specific category for documenting distracted driving.  Since then, tracking distracted driving crashes, and injuries suffered in those crashes, has become quite a bit easier.

Based on publicly available data, there were 20,115 crashes involving a distracted driver in 2017.  According to an analysis by MLive.com, those crashes comprise about 6% of Michigan’s total crashes last year, and about 23% of those distracted driving crashes resulted in an injury.

As one would expect, distracted driving crashes occur in higher volume in urban and busy suburban areas.  However, a few communities seem to have especially high proportions of distracted driving crashes.  Bloomfield Township, for example, had an eye-catching 20% of its crashes caused by distracted driving in 2017.  Traverse City also had a disproportionately high distracted driving crash rate of 14%, although those resulted in fewer injuries than the state average (12% to 23%).  Although Dearborn landed at #31 in the sheer number of distracted driving crashes, those represent just 3% of the total number of crashes in that city.

It’s worth noting that, in spite of everyone’s best efforts, crash report data is not perfect.  It is possible, even likely, that distracted driving crashes and injuries are underreported.  Distracted driving is illegal in Michigan, and numerous studies show it is extremely hazardous.

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