All signs point to an increase in crash deaths for the year—even with fewer cars on Michigan’s roads.
With more people working and attending school from home in 2020, there has been a noticeable decrease in traffic on Michigan’s roads. Fewer cars should equate to fewer accidents—and therefore, deaths—but according to Michigan State Police (MSP), those statistics don’t bear out. Although there has been a drop in the number of vehicles crashes through September 2020 when compared to 2019, there has actually been a contradictory increase in the number of crash fatalities.
According to an October article in the Detroit Free Press, there have been 701 fatalities through September 20—involving drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in crashes. Even though that’s a slight uptick from 689 for the same timeframe in 2019, the circumstances in 2020 are vastly different. Officials believe that Michigan crash fatalities are on track to surpass 2019 numbers—unless driving behavior shows a dramatic change in the last quarter.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says driver behavior factors into nearly 90 percent of all fatal crashes, and this year is no exception. According to MSP, the top three causes of 2020 crashes are:
- Not Wearing Seatbelts
While distracted driving has been a growing cause of vehicle crashes in recent years, that doesn’t appear to be the focus this year. Michigan drivers have not been faring well in fundamental driving basics—and those areas need greater emphasis to ensure traffic safety while we await the official numbers for 2020 from the MSP and MDOT.
Roadway safety remains one of the most challenging issues facing Michigan, and Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) is a statewide safety campaign intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. To learn more about Michigan’s efforts, go to www.michigan.gov/zerodeaths.
Vince Colella is a founding partner of personal injury and civil rights law firm Moss & Colella, a full-service personal injury law firm dedicated to representing victims in the City of Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan. The firm always has a Michigan car accident lawyer ready to help you.