Despite reduced driving during the pandemic, law enforcement across the country and in Michigan are reporting surprising increases in traffic crash frequency and severity, including fatalities. In light of these increases, which are attributed in part to excessive speed and distracted driving, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is urging Michiganders to drive safely to help save lives and money.
“As more Michiganders returned to the road last year, law enforcement reported increases in traffic crashes, leading to worrying increases in both fatalities and injuries,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “In addition to the potential for serious injury or death, vehicle repair and replacement costs incurred after car crashes may cause serious financial hardship for Michigan families. We urge Michiganders to slow down, drive safely, and follow all traffic laws to help avoid car crashes. The life, and money, you save may be your own.”
Mirroring trends seen across the country, information recently released by the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center shows that, in 2021, Michigan saw increases in both the frequency and severity of traffic crashes over 2020, including:
– 15% increase in motor vehicle crashes.
– 17% increase in injuries.
– 10% increase in crashes with suspected serious injuries.
– 4% increase in fatalities overall, with a 10% increase in alcohol-related fatalities.
These increases come at a time when vehicle repair, replacement, and rental costs have also increased. National data collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, since January 2020:
– Vehicle repair costs are up 10.5%.
– Used car and truck prices are up 52.1%.
– New car and truck prices are up 15.2%.
– Rental car prices are up 22%.
These increases, along with rising fuel prices, parts shortages, and other pandemic-related supply chain concerns, underscore the financial benefits of safe driving.