traffic

Law
3:44 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Blame the weather? No helmet law? Cause of spike in motorcyclist deaths uncertain

Number of motorcyclist fatalities in Michigan since 2008.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The number of motorcyclists who died in traffic accidents in Michigan last year rose 18-percent.

About a year ago Michigan became the thirty-first state to allow people to ride motorcycles without helmets.

But Michigan State Police warn one year isn't enough time to say whether the changes to the helmet law had anything to do with this year’s spike in motorcycle deaths.

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Business
3:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Many Michigan commuters spend a lot of time sitting in traffic

A new report shows commuters are spending a lot of time behind the wheel in two Michigan cities.

The Texas A & M Transportation Institute releases an annual report on traffic congestion around the country. Many Detroit commuters will probably agree with the findings in this year’s Urban Mobility reports.   

Report co-author Bill Eisele says Motown motorists spend a lot of time each year not moving.

“Those commuting in Detroit are losing 40 hours,” says Eisele, “[They] are losing essentially a whole…week just stuck in traffic.”

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Law
12:38 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Group says driving-while-texting laws don't help, calls for complete ban

Is he texting or dialing?
C. Todd Lopez Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

All states should ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones, according to a new recommendation by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Only 10 states ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

Michigan is not one of them.

But it does have laws against sending a text while driving.

Jonathan Adkins, with the Governors Highway Safety Association, says the texting laws aren't doing as much good as they should.

"States are having some difficulty enforcing texting bans, if you have a texting only ban, it's very easy for a driver to say, oh, I was dialing my phone, I'm allowed to do that, I'm allowed to be on my phone, I'm just not allowed to text on it," says Adkins.

Adkins says banning the use of handheld cell phones altogether would solve that problem.  The safety group is also calling for tougher laws against driving while on drugs.

Transportation
12:36 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

U.S. 127 closed in both directions after semi accident

U.S. 127
user Shadowlink1014 Wikimedia Commons

Both directions of U.S. 127 traffic near Mason will be closed for the rest of today after a semi crash.

The Lansing State Journal reports the highway was first closed early this morning after a northbound semi carrying 10,300 gallons of a liquid asphalt overturned, spilling its load just south of Kipp Road.

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Transportation
2:07 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Traffic deaths fell by 5 percent in Michigan last year

user dori wikimedia commons

Traffic deaths in Michigan fell by 5 percent last year, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

  • 937 people in Michigan were killed in 2010,
  • 889 in 2011.

Nationally, road deaths fell by almost 2-percent during 2011.

Communications manager for the Office of Highway Safety Planning Anne Readette said a decline in drunk driving and high seat belt use helped the situation.  

"Just a few years ago, Michigan had a 98 percent [seat] belt use rate... and we know that certainly has played a significant role in what we're seeing in traffic deaths," said Readette. 

Readett said her office focuses on communicating their latest safety messages to young men - the drivers most likely to drink and drive and to not wear seat belts.

Here are a few more notable items from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning's press release:

  • Cell phone-involved crashes decreased from 881 in 2010 to 821 in 2011. Cell phone-involved fatal crashes increased from four in 2010 to six in 2011. (Michigan cannot track crashes involving texting specifically.)
  • Commercial motor vehicle-involved fatalities fell 23 percent, from 95 in 2010 to 73 in 2011.
  • Motorcyclist fatalities dropped 13 percent, from 125 in 2010 to 109 in 2011.
  • Bicyclist fatalities were down 17 percent, from 29 in 2010 to 24 in 2011.
  • Pedestrian fatalities increased 6 percent, from 131 in 2010 to 140 in 2011.
  • The number of car-deer crashes declined 4 percent, from 55,867 in 2010 to 53,592 in 2011.
Auto/Economy
3:39 pm
Sat March 24, 2012

GM recalling vans, SUVs to fix steering problem

General Motors is recalling more than 6,000 big vans and SUVs because their steering can fail. The recall affects certain 2012 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, and Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website Saturday that a gear shaft can break, causing a loss of steering. GM says no crashes or injuries have been reported.

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Transportation
5:26 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

Campaign targets distracted drivers

Flickr user poka0059

Organizers of a new campaign want to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving. The project is called "Remembering Ally: Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign." It was named in honor of Ally Zimmerman. She was sixteen when she was killed by a distracted driver.

Jim Santilli is executive director of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan. He says one simple mistake made by a distracted driver can change the lives of many people.

On Tuesday TIA will hold a conference at Zimmerman’s former high school in Romeo. The speakers will include members of her family as well as government and safety officials. A new, graphic video that details what happens in a car crash will also be shown.

The campaign is geared toward teens and young adults, but Santilli says older adults are also guilty of distracted driving.

Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Halloween is a dangerous time for small children

CreativeCelebrationsMagazine.com

Twice as many children die in car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on an average day the rest of the year. That’s according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.   

Michelle Macy is a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School. She says adults should be more cautious than usual when taking young children trick or treating in busy neighborhoods. 

"While they’re in elementary school, kids don’t have the ability to judge the distance that a car is or the speed that it’s approaching at…they need to be told to wait and stop and let the cars go past before they try to run out ahead of it," said Macy.   

Macy urges parents to make sure their children dress in costumes that don’t restrict their vision this Halloween.

Investigative
1:41 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Fewest traffic fatalities in Michigan since the 1940s.

Each recession has one upside: fewer traffic accidents. But since 2008 it's also meant a lot fewer traffic crash deaths.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

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. 

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Traffic
1:00 pm
Wed May 11, 2011

Traffic deaths rise in Michigan. Is the economy to blame?

An accident scene on I-94
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan saw an increase in the number of traffic deaths in 2010.  It was the first increase in 7 years. 

According to a new report, 936 people died on Michigan roads last year.   That’s an 8% increase over 2009.

Traffic fatalities have been declining in Michigan since the early 2000’s when more than a thousand people were dying each year in car crashes. 

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Weather
7:11 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Freezing rain leads to slow morning commute

Freezing rain is wreaking havoc on roads in Southeast Michigan Friday morning
LisaW123 Flickr

Freezing rain has closed portions of some southeast Michigan freeways and made driving conditions dangerous for commuters.

The Associated Press reports:

...portions of Interstate 94, Interstate 75 and the Lodge Freeway (M-10) were closed early Friday morning in Detroit, while portions of the Southfield Freeway (M-39) in Dearborn and Interstate 96 in Howell also have been shut down... Several accidents have been reported.

The National Weather Service in White Lake Township says freezing rain is expected to change to rain by noon. High temperatures in the low 40s are expected.

The Michigan State Police has confirmed to Michigan Radio that as of 6:57 a.m. parts of Northbound 23 were closed as were parts of Northbound I-475.