Earlier this year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning revisited its Michigan Traffic Crash Facts for the Detroit Metro Area. The area includes Wayne County, Oakland County and Macomb County. The revised stats include car accident, traffic crash and fatality statistics between 2010 and 2014.
The numbers are troubling. In 2014, there was over 112,000 motor vehicle crashes. This marked an 11% increase in total motor vehicle accidents compared to 2010. Of those crashes, 258 were classified as fatal, resulting in 279 fatalities. This compares to 236 fatal crashes in 2010.
Although no specific reasons were listed in the revised Traffic Crash facts for the increases in total accidents and fatalities, a number of reasons come to mind. First, the improving economy has lead to an increase in total miles drive by Michigan motorists over the past 5 years. With the increase in driving comes the inevitable increase in Michigan car accidents.
In addition, 2014 will be remembered for its brutal winter. The Detroit Metro area had record snowfall and cold temperatures and this weather presumably led to an increase in car and truck accidents on Michigan roadways.
The breakdown in traffic crash statistics by county is also interesting. In 2014, Wayne had the most motor vehicle crashes with 48,431. Oakland was second with 39,951 and Macomb was a distant third with 24,471. There were 172 fatalities in Wayne County, representing 62% of total fatalities for the region. Oakland had 63 and Macomb had 44 fatalities in 2014. More than half of all accidents occurred on local streets, as opposed to state highways or freeways.
Oddly enough, Wednesday was the more frequent day for car, truck and motorcycle crashes, with 19,086. Friday was second with 18,225. By far the day with the least amount of crashes was Sunday, with 10,304 motor vehicle crashes occurring in 2014.
Alcohol was involved in approximately 2.8% of all motor vehicle crashes. This actually marked the lowest amount of alcohol related drunk-driving crashes on a percent basis in the last 5 years. In fact, almost as many deer accidents (2,771) occurred in the tri-county area in 2014 than alcohol related crashes (3,201).
In 2014, there were a total of 804 crashes involving drug use by the driver. This was less than 1% of all reported crashes and compares to 824 crashes involving drugs in 2010. It will be interesting to see how much this number increases as the technology to detect motorists high on THC (marijuana) improves and is utilized by law enforcement agencies in the future.
In 2014, a total of 22,916 injuries were reported due to motor vehicle accidents in the Metro Detroit area.