2010-04-01 / News

State traffic deaths fall in ’09; five fatals recorded in county

Michigan’s traffic deaths reached a milestone of 871 in 2009, the lowest number the state has recorded since 1924, when there were 863 traffic fatalities. Today, there are nearly 10 times more vehicles on the road than in the 1920s. The 2009 fatality figure is down 11% from 2008, when 980 people died on Michigan roads.

Just a decade earlier in 1999, 1,386 people died on state roadways.

“Michigan is part of a national trend where states are seeing significant declines in traffic deaths,” said Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince. “A variety of factors contributed to the decline, including fewer miles driven, the state’s high seat belt use, strict enforcement of traffic laws, roadway engineering improvements and vehicle safety features.”

Overall, the number of traffic crashes dropped 8%, fatal crashes fell 12% and injury crashes declined 6%.

Declines were noted in several areas, including alcohol and/or drug-involved fatalities. These dropped from 379 in 2008 to 351 in 2009. Specifically, alcohol involved fatalities dropped 6%, from 317 in 2008 to 299 in 2009. Druginvolved fatalities fell 15%, from 140 in 2008 to 119 in 2009. (In some cases, both alcohol and drugs were involved.)

The crash data also shows:

- Motorcycle-involved fatalities fell from 127 in 2008 to 105 in 2009, a drop of 17%.

- Commercial motor vehicle-involved fatalities dropped 28%, from 106 in 2008 to 76 in 2009.

- The state recorded zero school busrelated traffic deaths in 2009, down from four in 2008. There has not been a child killed on a school bus in Michigan since 1989.

- Cell phone-involved crashes fell from 919 in 2008 to 866 in 2009. (Michigan cannot track crashes involving texting specifically.)

- The number of car-deer crashes remained fairly steady, up 1% from 2008. There were 61,486 deer-involved crashes in 2009.

- Pedestrian fatalities increased 10%, up from 114 in 2008 to 125 in 2009.

In Roscommon County, there were 859 total crashes in 2009 (up from 846 in 2008), according to the web site www.michigantrafficcrashfacts.org. Of those reported, 34 (4%) were accidents where drinking was involved and nine (1%) were accidents where drugs were involved. There were five fatal crashes in the county in 2009, up from four in 2008.

Countywide, Friday was the day where most accidents occurred (146 or 17%) while Saturday (16%) and Sunday, Thursday and Wednesday (each 15%) followed. December had the most crashes with 92 (11%) while July had 86 (10%) and November 80 (9%). There were 14 reported accidents where motorcycles were involved.

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