LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan State Police say six people were killed in traffic crashes over the 2016 holiday period, a 50 percent increase from last year.
The 2016 Operation C.A.R.E. Lifesaver Weekend ran from 6 p.m. on Friday, December 16, through 11:59 p.m., on Monday, December 19, 2016.
Police say the six victims were killed in six separate crashes, none of which occurred in the metro Detroit area. In comparison, three people died in traffic crashes during the 2015 initiative.
“Traffic fatalities are really becoming a problem for us here in Michigan,” Lt. Mike Shaw told WWJ’s Zahra Huber. “What we’re trying to enforce to people is it’s time to slow down, it’s time to increase your driving distance, and it’s time to quit being distracted behind the wheel.”
The total overall number of traffic deaths in Michigan is up from last year, as well. Shaw said as of Dec. 6, 987 people have died on Michigan roads — up 81 from 2015.
“We’re showing that the number one cause for a lot of these traffic crashes is distracted driving,” he said. “People kind of put distracted driving as just using their phone, but there’s so many other things that are involved with it — watching TV behind the wheel, trying to use a Facebook app, trying to use different things on your cellphone, also eating behind the wheel — just doing everything else besides actually driving.”
Shaw said troopers are going to continue their efforts to prevent traffic deaths, but it’s drivers who hold the real responsibility.
“We really need to kind of get our head back in the game when we talk about getting behind the wheel of a car,” he said.