If you’re wondering about how dangerous the roads and highways are in Michigan, you can look no further than the State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit (TCRU). This group is responsible for “the complete, accurate, and timely collection, processing, and compilations of statewide traffic crash data.” The TCRU keeps a database that’s the central repository for all traffic crash data for the State of Michigan. All law enforcement agencies are required to submit qualifying crash reports to the Michigan State Police for inclusion in the database.
The TCRU receives and processes about 315,000 crashes annually. From their research, they’ve found that traffic crashes increased 15% from 245,432 in 2020 to 282,640 in 2021 in Michigan. Fatalities in the state increased 4%, from 1,083 in 2020 to 1,131 in 2021, and injury crashes increased 16% (44,417 to 51,666). Sadly, the number of traffic crashes and fatal crashes has been on the rise since 2018.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can drive safely and avoid being a statistic in the TCRU database in 2023.
Think Safety First
If you don’t drive aggressively or distracted, you place yourself in a better position to deal with other motorists’ poor driving. Wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in an accident. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you.
Don’t depend on other drivers. You should be courteous, but you must watch out for yourself. Plan your actions anticipating the worst-case scenario.
Use the 3- to 4-Second Rule
The best odds for a collision are on what’s in front of you, so use the 3- to 4-second rule to help you establish and maintain a safe following distance. This also gives you enough time for you to brake to a stop if necessary. Note that this rule only works in normal traffic under good weather conditions. If the weather is bad, add some tie to your following distance: an additional second for each condition such as rain, fog, nighttime driving, or following a semi-truck or motorcycle.
Watch Your Speed
Remember that the posted speed limits are for ideal conditions, so it’s your job to make sure that your speed matches the road and weather conditions. Plus, greater speeds make controlling your vehicle more difficult if you have a problem.
There are a lot of distractions that can divert your attention from driving.
Driving deserves your full attention — so stay focused on the driving task. For example, a total of 16,543 crashes occurred in Michigan that involved a distracted driver of a motor vehicle in 2021. Of those, 59 involved a fatality. The top five counties for distracted driving crashes were Wayne (2,480); Oakland (2,207); Macomb (1,705); Kent (1,572); and Kalamazoo (625).
Of these distracted drivers in crashes, 16.5% were distracted by cell phone use, 10.9% by some other electronic device (e.g. navigation aid, or e-reader book player), 5.5% by a passenger, 35.3% by some other activity inside the vehicle (e.g. eating, drinking, personal grooming), and 31.7% by something outside the vehicle.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Of the fatal crashes that occurred in Michigan, almost a third (31.5%) were alcohol-involved, with at least one drinking operator, bicyclist, or pedestrian. There were 357 alcohol-involved fatalities—this accounts for 31.6% of the total number of people killed.
Also, the percentage of alcohol-involved fatalities was about 10.1 times higher than fatalities in all crashes and the most serious injury level (suspected serious) was about 5.7 times higher. So alcohol really increases the severity of an automobile accident for everyone involved!
Michigan traffic crashes increased 15% from 245,432 in 2020 to 282,640 in 2021. With these types of numbers, there’s a good chance that you or a family member will be involved in an auto accident. If so, know that injured victims may be entitled to compensation for serious injuries. You need a reliable Grand Rapids car accident attorney that understands the Michigan no-fault insurance laws and can get you what you deserve.
For a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.