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Michigan stepping up speed enforcement to stem troubling rise in speed-related fatalities

Enforcement period will run through February 2023

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, law enforcement agencies across Michigan have reported an alarming rise in speeding and fatal crashes.

To combat this troubling and dangerous trend, dozens of municipal, county and Michigan State Police law enforcement agencies across Michigan will conduct overtime speed enforcement between December 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023.

In 2021, there were 237 speed-related fatalities on Michigan roads, an increase of 18.5 percent over 2020, when 200 people died. Nationally in 2020, 11,258 fatalities involved crashes in which one or more drivers were speeding, an 18 percent increase over the 9,478 fatalities in 2019.

Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said the goal of increased enforcement is to change these risky driving behaviors and save lives.

“Speeding continues to be a critical issue in Michigan that leads to many needless crashes, serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways,” Bower said. “With the arrival of winter comes snow, slush and slick road conditions that make speeding even more dangerous and crashes more likely.”

In Michigan, the number of traffic crashes rose from 245,432 in 2020 to 282,640 in 2021, an increase of 15 percent. There was also a rise in fatalities (1,131 in 2021 compared to 1,083 in 2020).

Also in Michigan, according to speed-involved data from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in 2021:
■ 13.3 percent of unrestrained drivers involved in crashes were speeding. 
■ 10.2 percent of drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age group involved in crashes were speeding. This is higher than the overall speeding-driver rate of 5.2 percent in 2021.
■ There were 24,555 speed-related crashes, which is a 10.3 percent increase from the 22,260 speed-related crashes in 2020.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, local roads are more dangerous than highways for speeders. In 2020, 87 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurred on non-interstate roadways.

Recent insurance industry studies show that approximately 112,000 speeding tickets are issued each day, or about 41 million per year.

 

Dennis Raymo
raymod@michigan.gov