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21 Jul, 2024
Michigan traffic crashes and fatalities decline in 2023
4 mins read

Michigan traffic crashes and fatalities decline in 2023

Pictured above, first responders participate in a training exercise. Michigan’s Hands-Free Law may help make the state’s roads safer, but the number of fatal crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians is expected to increase in 2023.

Pictured above, first responders participate in a training exercise. Michigan’s Hands-Free Law may help make the state’s roads safer, but the number of fatal crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians is expected to increase in 2023.

Mark Birdsall/Huron Daily Tribune

Michigan’s hands-free law may be making the state’s roads safer, but fatal crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians continue to rise.

The number of traffic accidents and fatalities on Michigan roads decreased slightly in 2023, according to recently released data from the Michigan State Police Crime Information Center.

However, the number of accidents involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists has increased by at least 10%.

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The number of 1,095 fatalities recorded in 2023 was slightly lower than the 1,123 fatalities in 2022, representing a decrease of 2%. The number of all accidents in 2023 (287,953) decreased by 2% compared to the previous year (293,341).

• The number of pedestrian accidents increased by 11%, from 2,114 accidents in 2023 to 1,897 in 2022.

• Pedestrian fatalities increased by 6% to 183 in 2023 and 173 in 2022.

• The number of accidents involving cyclists increased by 10%, from 1,480 accidents in 2023 to 1,340 in 2022.

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• The number of cyclist fatalities decreased by 33%, with 24 people dying in 2023 and 36 in 2022.

“It’s encouraging to see crashes decreasing, but it’s concerning to see an increase in incidents involving our most vulnerable road users: pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “This underscores the urgent need for increased awareness to keep all road users safe.”

Alcohol-related deaths fell by 8%, from 322 deaths in 2022 to 297 in 2023, while drug-related deaths increased by 3%, from 249 deaths in 2022 to 256 in 2023.

Bower also noted the impact of Michigan’s hands-free driving law, which went into effect June 30, 2023, and aims to address the growing problem of driver distraction.

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“We are pleased to see the positive impact of the Hands-Free Law — there were 305 fewer distracted-driving crashes (15,136) in 2023 compared to 2022,” Bower said. “But there is still much work to be done as we continue to increase our efforts to educate all age groups about the dangers of distracted driving.”

To view the Michigan State Police Crime Information Center’s Crash Data Report and other related documents, visit the 2023 Crash Data page.

Bower said Michiganders need to change their approach to traffic safety to reduce accidents.

“Positive change starts with everyone being more engaged and committed to helping save lives by reducing the risk of accidents in their communities,” she said. “We encourage everyone to join the efforts for safer roads. You can help shift the cultural gears towards safer travel, where every journey, whether walking, cycling or driving, is a journey towards safety and respect for all road users.”

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Bower added that Michigan residents can play a role in improving traffic safety by taking proactive steps. There are a variety of ways residents can get involved in addressing traffic safety issues, including:

• Teen Driving Programs: Encourage participation in teen driving programs offered in Michigan schools, which often include driver education courses, simulated driving experiences and awareness campaigns about the dangers of distracted or impaired driving. Examples include the “Strive for Safer Driving” teen safe driving initiative in high schools and Ford Driving Skills for Life clinics.

• 4-H Projects: Participate in 4-H projects focused on road safety, which may include educational workshops, community projects such as roadside cleanups, or initiatives to promote safe driving behaviors among peers.

• Become a Car Seat Technician: Receive training to become a certified car seat technician who can help parents properly install and use car seats, keeping infants and toddlers safe while riding in vehicles.

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Employer Programs: Supporting or participating in employer programs that promote safe driving practices among employees, such as offering safe driving classes, establishing distraction-driving policies, or providing incentives to carpool or use public transportation.

Parents, get involved: As parents, take an active role in promoting safe driving habits for your teens, including setting rules and expectations for responsible driving behavior, supervising test-driving sessions, and setting an example through your own driving habits. One resource is the Teen Driver Parental Toolkit.

“Valuable programs and initiatives like these help improve traffic safety in our communities and beyond, whether through education, advocacy, practical assistance, or setting positive examples for others to follow,” Bower said. “Get involved, Michigan.”

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