Creighton McLean & Shea PLC

2017 road statistics shows dangerous trends despite improvement

Recently, the Department of Transportation held a teleconference to discuss the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System data. The big news that came out of it is that roadway fatalities went down by nearly 2 percent between 2016 and 2017. This is a result of many dangerous road behaviors such as speeding, lacking a seat belt or not watching out for motorcycles having an overall decrease in deaths.

While that does mean some efforts to increase motor vehicle safety are working, not all areas have improved. With how important the auto industry is in Michigan, drivers should know which accidents worsened last year so they can reduce the risks in the upcoming years.

Large-truck negligence

Between the two years, the biggest increase in fatalities was with large-truck occupants. There was nearly a 9 percent increase in fatalities in 2017 with 841 fatalities, 40 percent of which were not wearing seat belts. Large truck drivers and passengers might feel that they are safer thanks to how tall and tough their vehicles are, but they can still take a lot of damage from inattentive passenger cars or if the truck driver begins to fall asleep behind the wheel. In October, truck drivers should especially be careful on how the decreasing amount of daylight makes them drowsy.

Drunk driving

The nation as a whole had a one percent decrease in drunk driving deaths in 2017. However, with that small of an increase, that means that it was balanced between the amount of states that improved or worsened between years. Unfortunately, Michigan ended up having the largest increase in alcohol-related vehicle incidents in the nation with a 67-death increase. Drivers should be cautious around the holidays as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular times for drunk motorists to go on the road.

Urban vs Rural

Generally, rural areas tend to be more dangerous for drivers due to the lack of law enforcement and crumbling narrow roads. However, the statistics of the last decade shows that urban fatalities have increased by over 17 percent and rural fatalities have decreased by 18 percent. In the last two years, there have been more urban fatalities than rural fatalities. While this might suggest that more are taking caution when driving near Michigan’s farmlands, drivers should take this as a sign to pay close attention to the road when going through the cities.

These statistics give us a good idea on what we are doing correctly and what we need to improve on to ensure more drivers are safe on the road. If you find yourself or a friend a victim in any of these circumstances, a local personal injury attorney can help you get coverage for your damages.

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