(WLNS) – In 2016, Michigan roads were proven to be the deadliest year for drivers since 2007.
“2007 was the last time we had more than a thousand traffic deaths in our state,” said Communications Manager Anne Readett of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.
Last year, there were 306,779 crashes, leaving 1,047 dead and 78,371others injured.
According to Readett, officials are still in the process of going through reports but she believes these deadly crashes stem from two main things.
“An improved economy and we have had quite a long time with low gas prices,” Readett stated.
First Lieutenant Joseph Thomas of the Michigan State Police says these two factors result in more drivers on the road which then causes more crashes.
“Gas prices are lower so people are spending the money to fuel up their vehicles and go out and travel from state to state…with a better economy people are out shopping more, they’re dining more, they’re just simply traveling more,” said Lt. Thomas.
But it’s not just a thriving economy and lower fuel prices. First Lieutenant Thomas says it’s also the lack of attention by the person behind the wheel.
“Typically the things that we see on any crash report is that a driver made a mistake whether they ran a traffic light, they were traveling too fast, they were following too close or maybe they were distracted,” Lt. Thomas added.
But to prevent crashes from happening, Lt. Thomas says drivers should stay vigilant.
“We see a lot of tragic things out there but once again you can combat that by being ready to drive when you get behind the wheel,” said Lt. Thomas.
Although the numbers are constantly changing and reports are still coming in, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says it looks at specific crashes first to see if anything stands out and that includes crashes involving drunk drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, teens and senior drivers.