363 Auto Fatalities Last Year: SEMCOG Survey Seeks Answers

363 Auto Fatalities Last Year: SEMCOG Survey Seeks Answersctechad

(SEMCOG Press Release, Sept. 5, 2014)


Last year there were more than 128,000 traffic crashes in the Metro Detroit area in which 363 people lost their lives and over 35,000 were injured. And we are in the last month of the busy summer travel season when most crashes occur. While it is easy to say that “accidents happen,” the reality is that many of these crashes occurred and many of these lives were lost due to inappropriate driving behaviors.

In an effort to impact quality of life in Southeast Michigan by keeping our roads and highways safer, SEMCOG, modern natural baby inprogressthe Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and its partner organization MAC, the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, have launched a survey to gather driver perceptions on dangerous activities behind the wheel.

Citizens are asked to take this quick survey to provide their perspective on dangerous driving behaviors and help guide future traffic safety education and outreach efforts to make roads safer.

The survey focuses on the three main categories of driver behavior that lead to traffic crashes: impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving. While impaired driving makes up a small percentage of total traffic crashes that occur within the Metro Detroit region, it is the leading cause of fatalities. Driving drunk, buzzed, or drowsy is extremely dangerous. Many times, driving impaired results in vehicles running off the road, often with serious consequences. Even worse, impaired driving can result in crossing lanes or running through stop lights, putting the lives of other drivers and passengers at significant risk.

We have all seen drivers who cause anxiety for everyone else on the road: the aggressive driver. Examples are sidebar016growthe motorcyclist who weaves in and out of lanes. Motorcycle crashes are again a very small proportion of total crashes, but represented 13 percent of total fatalities last year. Another example of aggressive behavior behind the wheel is the tailgater who is following so closely behind your vehicle that you can see the driver’s face in your rearview mirror. Then, there is the driver who ignores the speed limit as he or she passes every other car on the road. Aggressive driving puts everyone at risk.

Distracted driving is probably the most difficult driver behavior to quantify in relation to traffic crashes because it takes so many forms, very few of which are readily apparent. What most observers agree is that the age of electronics has significantly increased the incidences of distracted driving. Everyone has experienced the car that unexpectedly slows down on the freeway as the driver talks on his or her cell phone. Or the texter gallowaycollens1who takes his eyes off the road for a brief moment, but in that time has traveled several hundred feet without paying attention. Being distracted for just a few seconds – whether reaching for a cup of coffee or adjusting the radio – can have serious, even fatal, consequences.

“Too many lives are lost and injuries sustained needlessly on Southeast Michigan roads due to things we can change. We want drivers to be more aware of the behaviors that put them and others at risk as they travel,” said Kathleen Lomako, SEMCOG Executive Director and MAC President.

This survey is powered by Cobalt Community Research, a Michigan-based 501c3 nonprofit research coalition with a mission to provide research and educational tools that help schools, local governments, and other MBREW draft onenonprofit member organizations thrive as changes emerge in the economic, demographic, and social landscape.

SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county region’s 4.7 million people.

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