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Michigan Traffic Fatalities: Statistics, Laws & Prevention

July 19, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Traffic Fatalities: Statistics, Laws, and Prevention

Michigan traffic fatalities have increased 15% over the past 3 years, even though total car accidents dropped 10% over the same period. This jump in car accident-related deaths comes primarily from an increase in crashes involving drunk driving, drugged driving, speeding and auto accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

This increase in fatalities but decrease in the total number of car accidents is a disturbing trend in Michigan.

It does not need to be this way. If every driver took common-sense safety precautions while they are behind the wheel, most of these traffic fatalities and fatal crashes could be drastically reduced and lives would be saved.

Are Michigan car accidents overall increasing or decreasing?

Overall, the total number of Michigan car accidents are decreasing. From 2019 to 2021, total car crashes dropped 10% from 314,376 in 2019 to 282,640 in 2021.

Are Michigan traffic fatalities on the rise?

Unfortunately, Michigan traffic fatalities are up nearly 15% (14.8%) from 985 car accident-related deaths in 2019 to 1,131 in 2021. This same troubling trend is seen for drunk driving, drugged driving and speeding-related accidents as well as for traffic fatalities involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

Here is more detail about Michigan traffic fatalities:

  • Alcohol-involved fatalities: 21% increase from 295 in 2019 to 357 in 2021.
  • Drug-involved fatalities: 16% increase from 237 in 2019 to 275 in 2021.
  • Pedestrian fatalities: 22.8% increase from 149 in 2019 to 183 in 2021.
  • Bicyclist fatalities: 38% increase from 21 in 2019 to 29 in 2021.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities: 36% increase from 122 in 2019 to 166 in 2021.
  • Speeding fatalities: 14% increase in car crash fatalities involving excessive speed from 175 in 2017 to 200 in 2020.

Are Michigan traffic fatalities increasing or decreasing?

The total number of fatal car crashes in Michigan jumped 18% over the past 3 years, from 902 in 2019 to 1,068 in 2021. This trend is also reflected in the 26% increase in alcohol-involved fatal auto accidents and the 21% increase in drug-involved fatal crashes.

Similarly, fatal crashes where a driver was using a cell phone have increased approximately 50% from 2019 to 2021.

Also, the number of deaths resulting from car crashes involving “excessive speed” increased 28% between 2019 and 2021, from 185 to 237.

Legal liability for Michigan traffic fatalities

A person who is at-fault for causing a Michigan car accident that results in death to another person can be sued in a wrongful death lawsuit for compensation and damages. A wrongful death lawsuit will include pain and suffering compensation, compensation for the family and defendants, and excess economic loss. Additionally, the at-fault driver may face a criminal conviction, fine and/or possible jail time.

Michigan law states that a driver who commits a moving violation which is “the proximate cause of the death of another person” is “guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both . . .” (MCL 257.601d(1))

Preventing Michigan traffic fatalities

To prevent traffic fatalities and save lives, drivers need to refrain from: (1) texting and driving; (2) dialing a handheld phone while driving; (3) talking on the phone while driving; (4) driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and (5) speeding.

Here are the crash risks for these dangerous driving behaviors:

  • Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
  • Drivers are 12 times more likely to crash if they are dialing a handheld cell phone while driving. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
  • “Driving while talking on cell phones – handheld and hands-free – increases risk of injury and property damage crashes fourfold.” (National Safety Council)
  • Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.079 are 7 times more likely to be in a fatal crash and 6 to 17 times more likely to be killed than sober drivers. (MADD, Studies on the Effectiveness of .05 BAC)
  • “Excessive speed” was a factor in 18.5% of all car accident fatalities in Michigan in 2020. (Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, 2020, Fact Sheets, “Speeding”)

Have you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident in Michigan? Call the auto accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident and you have questions about your family’s legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance survivors benefits under Michigan’s traffic fatalities law, you can speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced No-Fault insurance attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

(Sources: Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, “At-a-Glance,” 2021 and 2019; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Fact Sheets, Speeding, 2021 and 2017; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Fact Sheets, Cell Phone Use, 2021; Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, 2021, County Profiles, “Statewide County Summary,” “5-Year Trend – Drivers in Crashes by Hazardous Action,” “Speed Too Fast”)

Michigan Traffic Fatalities: Statistics, Laws & Prevention

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