March 27, 2009 - Michigan Traffic Deaths Drop 10 Percent In 2008Traffic crashes, deaths and injuries all fell in Michigan in 2008, fueled in part by decreases in miles driven during summer months when fatal crashes tend to be highest. Traffic deaths dropped to 980 from 1,084 in 2007. 1925 was the last year Michigan had fewer than 980 fatalities.
Declines were also noted in alcohol, pedestrian and commercial motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. Increases occurred among drug-involved fatal crashes and motorcycle crashes and fatalities.
Traffic crashes fell 3 percent from 324,174 in 2007 to 316,057 in 2008. Injuries dropped 7 percent from 80,576 in 2007 to 74,568 in 2008. Alcohol-involved fatal crashes also declined from 313 in 2007 to 297 in 2008.
"It will be difficult to discern what drove this large decrease in traffic deaths last year, " said Michael L. Prince, director of the Office of Highway Safety Planning. "One factor is the state's extremely high safety belt use rate. Advancements in roadway and automotive engineering and in emergency medicine also played a major role. However, we can't ignore that motorists curtailed their driving when gas prices were extremely high. Further study may allow us to determine what impact each had on traffic deaths last year."
While drug-involved fatal crashes increased substantially, from 90 in 2007 to 130 in 2008, analysts attribute this to better follow-up and reporting by police agencies.
The crash data also shows:
- Motorcycle fatalities increased from 124 in 2007 to 127 in 2008.
- Teen fatalities (age 13-19) dropped from 277 in 2007 to 207 in 2008.
- Deer-vehicle crashes stayed nearly the same, dropping slightly from 61,907 in 2007 to 61,010 in 2008. There were 12 people killed in deer-vehicle crashes in 2008.
- Commercial motor vehicle fatalities fell from 136 in 2007 to 106 in 2008.
- Pedestrian fatalities dropped from 136 in 2007 to 115 in 2008.
- Bicycle fatalities rose from 18 in 2007 to 25 in 2008.
NOTE: Additional 2008 crash information will be posted to www.michigantrafficcrashfacts.orgin the coming months. Check frequently for updates.