While doing some research for a story, I went back over some data issued by the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information last May.
It might not be surprising that the number of traffic crashes is lowest during years of a down economy. After all, there’s less commercial traffic and there are fewer people driving to work because so many are unemployed.
Starting in 2008 when the most recent recession began, the number of crashes began falling in Michigan. By 2010, we had the lowest number of crashes we’ve seen since 1963.
Even more astounding, for the last three years the number of traffic crash deaths has been fewer than 1000. You have to go back to 1943 before you find fewer than 1000 traffic fatalities in Michigan. Part of the reason is due to fewer traffic accidents overall, but adding to it is that airbags, seatbelts and improved safety engineering in cars better protect passengers.
2010 282, 075
The worst year for traffic crashes since the state began keeping records in 1943 was 1996 with 435,477 crashes.
The worst year for traffic crash deaths was 1968 when 2,392 people were killed on the road.