DETROIT (WWJ) – The roads are getting more and more dangerous for drivers in Metro Detroit.
According to a new report from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the number of crashes and vehicle fatalities is on the rise in the area.
“Over the last year between 2016 and 2015 we’ve seen about 5 percent increase,” said Kevin Vettraino, manager at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. “Then we are looking at total fatalities we saw (and) an increase of 11 percent, which is about the largest we’ve seen over the last 10 years.”
The total number of traffic crashes increased in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year to nearly 150,000. According to the report, the most deadly crash factor was vehicles running off the road or shifting lanes.
Vettraino said distracted driving is a cause for some of those crashes.
“We now have smart phones that can do a lot of great things but one of the things they also do is they can provide a distraction when we are driving,” Vettraino said. “That’s also the same when we are walking or biking. We are seeing folks, regardless of how they get around the region there is a need to be aware of their surroundings.”
Crashes involving older drivers also increased for the seventh year in a row, while fatalities involving drivers 65 and over increased by 50 percent.
Vettraino pointed out part of the increase in crashes for 65 and older residents is because that population is continuing to grow.
“We know our region is aging and over the next 20 or so years we are going to see a significant increase in our population is going to be 65 and older,” Vettraino said. “As more of us are living longer and we are on the road longer, there’s a reason why we are seeing more crashes for those that are aging.”