It's National Traffic Incident Response Week!

Most of us know to some extent that we need to slow down when an emergency vehicle is approaching, but do you know exactly what the law says? The Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 13-19, 2017, to be National Traffic Incident Response Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness regarding the proper response when sharing the road with first responders. This week aims to remind drivers that they need to slow down and pull over, as well as help drivers be more aware of what laws their state specifically has in regard to emergency vehicles on the road. 

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According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for EMT/EMS responders, and one of the leading causes of death for police officers. Nearly 13% of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty are killed in traffic incidents. OHS also notes that traffic incident managers often report that drivers simply are just unaware of the laws, in their state, regarding what to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. OHS suggests the following steps drivers can take in order to make the roads safer for first responders.

How Drivers Can Minimize First Responder Dangers

  • If you can steer it, clear it: After a fender-bender or crash, if (and only if) your car is driveable and there are no injuries, move your car to the shoulder or a nearby safe place off the road. Many drivers think they should not move their car until the police arrive and they can make an accident report, but this is false and can put drivers, their cars, and other people at risk.

  • Slow down and move over: When you pass by an incident scene and/or see lights, vests, or reflectors, slow down and move over. This provides a protective buffer for you, for emergency responders, and for the motorists behind you. You can get a ticket if you don't slow down and move over.

  • Drive safely: As always, drive sober and without distractions such as cell phones. Use your seat belt and stay aware of your surroundings.

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In the state of Michigan, there is a law on the books specifically regarding emergency vehicles. The Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, also known as the Move Over Law, applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles.

Michigan Move Over Law

On Roads With Two or More Lanes of Travel in the Same Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On Roads With One Lane of Travel in Each Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open adjacent lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Drivers who violate the law face misdemeanor penalties. This can result in 4 points going on the driver’s license and/or fees and fines of up to $150. If violation of the law results in injury or death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response person, the driver could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7500.

First responders are there to keep us safe, especially if we find ourselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. As drivers, we need to repay the favor by making sure that first responders are safe when they’re on our roads. Being aware of your state’s laws so you know exactly what you need to do is best for keeping first responders safe, as well as keeping you out of legal trouble. By keeping first responders safe, we're helping them keep us safe.


While first responders are there to keep us safe in the event of a car collisions, they can't prevent them from happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation  with an experienced accident attorney today. 

Michigan Leads Development of Smart Roadways

Michigan is looking to lead the nation in developing smart road technology that will allow intersection signals and construction zones to alert next generation vehicles about upcoming red lights, lane closures, and traffic areas ahead. According to The Detroit News, General Motors and Macomb County, Michigan have partnered up to begin testing smart road safety features that can tell future cars to begin braking when traffic lights are about to turn red. Michigan has also begun testing 'connected construction zones' on Interstate 75 in Oakland County that can alert cars with 'vehicle-infrastructure-capability' about upcoming lane closures. Vehicle-infrastructure-capability allows vehicles to communicate with roadways, construction zones and traffic signals through smart technology.

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These 'connected construction zones' operate by advanced-tech roadside bar codes that are able to communicate information from construction zones to oncoming vehicles. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. Reportedly, these roadside bar codes are intended to be the system that will navigate autonomous vehicles in the future. Michigan has already established 100 miles of connected roadways and plans to expand to 350 miles in the future. Automakers and auto suppliers alike in Southeast Michigan have already begun planning for this transition by testing autonomous vehicle technology on Michigan roadways.

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Citizens of Michigan who are interested in knowing what these road signals look like, should look out for bar codes signs with black and white 2D codes that have been implemented on I-75 in Oakland County. These signs appear to be QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones, however, they can only be read by test cars with vehicle-infrastructure intuition. 3M Company provided these signs for Michigan, and Tammy Meehan, global portfolio manager for 3M Connected Roads, explains that these signs contain pinpoint GPS navigation, can alert vehicles of upcoming construction zones, and can estimate the time it takes to drive through work zones. These smart traffic signal systems can even tell the difference between construction workers from traffic barrels for the safety of both the worker and driver as well. 

Outside the GM Tech Center in Warren, advanced technology has been implemented into traffic lights by Macomb County on Mound Road between 12 Mile Road and 13 Mile Road. These lights are able communicate with Cadillac CTS test sedans that possess vehicle-infrastructure capability. The Detroit News reports that the smart traffic signals and sensors calculate the driver’s speed and the time in which the traffic signal will turn red, to determine if the driver needs to begin braking. In such a case, a yellow light glows on the driver’s infotainment screen and their seat begins vibrating. This is intended to prevent the driver from running the red light or crashing into another vehicle.  The smart traffic signals work within a 1,000-foot radius.

Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive, stated that for the past five years Macomb's infrastructure department has been installing advanced sensors and cameras to develop smart highways. Hackel explains that the partnership with GM, in addition to the $13.5 million-dollar creation of the Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC) that opened in Mount Clemens in 2013, have been a part of the County’s ongoing infrastructure investments. COMTEC has allowed for the development of Michigan traffic-monitoring, weather-mapping, road-department cameras, and a video wall with 40 monitors.

Kirk Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, stated that Michigan continues to partner with automakers and suppliers for the research and development of autonomous vehicles and smart technology. Kirk claims that advanced vehicle-infrastructure communication could reduce 80% of car accident fatalities.

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While Michigan making great headway, it is not alone in its efforts to develop smart roadways. Other states, including Ohio, have begun testing and implementing connected roadways as well. Ohio has decided to invest $15 million into developing the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor using advanced fiber-optic cables and wireless sensors for connected roadway and autonomous vehicle testing. Ohio plans to expand connected roadways to I-270 and I-90 as well.

The smart technology innovation that Michiganders are experiencing before them will transform the way we mobilize, by making transportation far more efficient and safer. The ability for autonomous vehicles and connected highways to communicate may greatly reduce car accident fatalities in the future. Yet, it will still be some time before Michigan citizens are able to experience this transformation. In the meanwhile, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC will continue to update blog readers on the development of smart roadway technology and its effects on drivers in Michigan and across the country.


Whether you've been involved in an auto accident with with a driverless car or were struck by a negligent driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation. Our firm assists victims of car accidents in recouping any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

90% Of Motorcyclists Killed In 2016 Had No Formal Training

Although May was National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, today, June 19, is International Ride to Work Day. Today, motorcyclists worldwide are celebrating their favorite form of transportation. Motorcycles give a certain freedom and excitement to drivers, unique from other boxed-in vehicles on the road. Add to that the fact that the weather in Michigan is starting to heat up, motorcyclists are starting to increase in number on the roads.

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Unfortunately however, not all motorcycle drivers ride safely, and often motorcycles don't stand a chance of surviving a collision against the giant hunks of metal that are cars and trucks, moving alongside motorcycles on the roads. According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, nearly 90% of motorcyclists killed in crashes on Michigan roads last year had no formal training during the last ten years. This is a staggering statistic, especially considering the wide number of training classes available across the state. However, many motorcycle accidents may be preventable if riders receive the proper training these classes provide and an official endorsement. 

Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The Michigan Department of State encourages programs that educate people on the safety of operating a motorcycle. There are multiple types of motorcycle training classes offered, through both public and private organizations, all as part of the Michigan Rider Education Program. And it is not just first-time riders who have the opportunity to take Michigan motorcycle driving classes. Beyond the Basic Rider course for beginners, other classes include: the Three-Wheel Basic Rider course for those who want to learn to ride three-wheel (instead of two-wheel) motorcycles, a Returning Rider Course for experienced drivers looking to refresh previously learned motorcycle skills, and an Advanced Rider course for already endorsed motorcycle drivers who want to brush up their riding skills.

With such a range of training class options, it seems silly for those operating a motorcycle to think they do not need training. Yet, the facts are there. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there was an 8% increase in fatalities from motorcycle crashes, nationally from 2014 to 2015. Obviously, the number of deaths from motorcycle accidents in the United States is only increasing. With many of these deaths being able to be prevented with simple training courses, there is a need for more awareness and exposure regarding these types of classes.
 
Michigan residents are encouraged to check Michigan.gov for the location of nearby motorcycle training classes that have been approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). In addition to taking a motorcycle safety class, motorcyclists may be interested in reading some general safety tips for motorcyclists, that The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously posted.

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Inexperienced and unprotected drivers may put themselves in dangerous situations that may lead to serious injuries or death from a motorcycle crash. The training classes the State of Michigan offers may be able to teach proper riding techniques to prevent motorcycle collisions or at the very least inform the rider how to act in such dangerous situations.

There is nothing wrong with a little wind in your hair, as long as one remembers to enjoy motorcycles the safe way. And this International Ride to Work Day, it is especially important to remember that safety comes first when enjoying the celebration of motorcycles.


Motorcyclists face unique safety risks as they are sharing the road with other, much larger vehicles. Special training classes can teach new skills or refresh old techniques, in order to help riders prevent themselves from getting into motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle car crash, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Detroit To Downriver I-75 Closure

The two-year closure on I-75 has been underway since February 2017. The repairs come in light of a 50-year-old crumbling bridge over the Rouge River and will cost the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) up to $165 million. The Detroit News reports that the closure is 8 miles long down the southbound side from Springwells in Detroit to Northline in Southgate. MDOT expects to disrupt over 100,000 motorists a day until the project is completed in October 2018. 

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Rouge River Bridge

The bridge is stated to be in such disrepair that concrete has been seen falling from it and in certain spots the damage is visible through the deck. That is why The Detroit Free Press says that, "All 20 football fields' worth of concrete" is planned on being removed. MDOT plans to install electronic sensors, cameras, and message boards on the newly renovated bridge.

“The I-75 Rouge River bridge is vital to the flow of commerce and commuters in Southeast Michigan,” said Kirk Steudle, director of MDOT. “We know the bridge deck replacement will cause some inconvenience, but safety is our top priority, and this work will extend the life of this heavily traveled bridge..."

Alternative Routes

For those motorists who don't frequently travel on southbound I-75 or for those searching for alternative routes, MDOT has some suggestions:

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  • Local traffic is encouraged to take Fort Street or Jefferson Avenue since they run parallel to I-75. Other southbound streets that run parallel to I-75 are also a good option. 
  • Truckers are advised to take westbound I-96 to southbound I-275 and back to southbound I-75. 
  • Despite it not being the first choice due to already heavy traffic, drivers can take I-94 to I-275 or Telegraph Road.  
  • Drivers can also choose to head west on Northline Road in Southgate and merge onto I-75 from there or take Dixie Highway south.

No matter which route drivers chooses to take, they should remember that abiding by speed reduction signs and other construction signs are a must. Traffic fines in construction areas more common but they are usually doubled and come with a severe penalty. More importantly however, it's easy to get frustrated in backed up traffic, but road rage can lead to car accidents. Shaving five minutes off of drive time by honking, yelling, and cutting off other vehicles is not worth crashing your truck into a construction sign, getting stuck in a construction ditch, or rear ending someone who isn't moving fast enough through an active construction zone for your liking. Drivers are instead encouraged to leave earlier to get to their intended destinations if they are planning to drive through any areas affected by the closure.


The renovation to Rouge River Bridge has been a long time coming and will hopefully improve the flow of traffic and commerce within Michigan. While the bridge is under construction however, drivers should beware of both construction accidents and motor vehicle accidents, as both are common occurrences in the case of road construction. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident due to road rage or construction, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. We offer free consultations to help guide you on how best to handle your car accident. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM.  

Pothole Season Descends on Michigan Roads

When Spring arrives in Michigan, the snow and ice has melted, birds begin to chirp, flowers start to bloom, and dreaded potholes make themselves known. Potholes are caused when melting snow and ice trickle into cracks in the roads and freeze overnight, thereby expanding and causing the pavement to rise and eventually break from the weight of motor vehicles driving over these divots. Not only are these craters unsightly, but they can also damage cars leading to expensive repairs. Luckily, The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) provides some useful tips on how to deal with potholes, and even reminds you to report potholes so that they can be fixed.

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MDOT's Tips For Dealing With Potholes

1. Maintain Your Vehicle

Maintaining simple vehicle repairs can potentially limit damages caused by potholes. Keeping tires properly inflated can prevent them from being heavily worn and potentially blowing out on the roadway. Motorists should get the suspension, struts, shocks, springs and steering on their vehicles checked by a certified mechanic. Checking that these few parts are in working order should assist the vehicle in driving over or through minor potholes on the road.   

2. Keep Your Eyes Open And Both Hands On The Wheel

It can be easy to mistake a pothole as a shadow, a shallow dip, or a simple puddle if rainfall recently occurred, but with proper head-lighting and clear windows drivers should be able to identify potholes. Also, by keeping the windows and mirrors on the vehicle clean, drivers can better discern potholes on the road. When a pothole is spotted, it's best to avoid hitting a pothole if you can, in order to prevent damage to the vehicle. Some potholes are small and easy enough to maneuver around if a driver is cautious and not engaging in aggressive driving habits like tailgating. Another tip for drivers is to place both hands on the wheel of the vehicle - preferably at 10 and 2, since potholes can cause a vehicle to suddenly change directions which can potentially cause a car accident. 

3. How To Drive Through A Pothole

If a pothole is unavoidable, it is best to slow down and then release the brakes just before hitting it. This helps reduce the speed at impact and gives the suspension time to absorb the shock. It’s also a good idea to straighten up the wheel to prevent bending the rim of the tires and to avoid any excessive damage to the vehicle.

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4. Help MDOT Take Care Of The Road

MDOT urges drivers to report a pothole whether they hit it or not. This could prevent future motorists from damaging their car or from causing a car accident. If a pothole is located on a city street or county road, it is best to report it to that city's public works department or county road commission. If the pothole is located on an interstate, US route, or a Michigan highway, please submit a complaint to MDOT’s Report A Pothole website or call their pothole hotline at 888.296.4546.

5. What If You Did Hit A Pothole?

If you hit a pothole that was unavoidable of if you damaged your car while trying to avoid hitting one, MDOT has tips for that too. Take notice if the vehicle is pulling in one direction or if the car is constantly swaying or bouncing. These are signs that you may need to get your vehicle serviced and potentially need a wheel alignment or new suspension.

While these tips aren't guaranteed to help drivers avoid potholes and thereby damage to their car, they may help prevent a car crash caused by losing control of a vehicle when trying to maneuver a pothole. After all, a flat tire is better than a flipped car. 


Potholes, especially ones that take up the entire width of the road can cause serious damage to vehicles and may even cause drivers to lose control of their cars and become involved in an auto accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle collision due to a pothole, construction, or any other bad road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM today, for a free consultation. We understand that accidents caused by damaged roads are sometimes unavoidable but are always dangerous. 

40 Car Pileup On I-96 Causes 3 Deaths

Around 9:30 AM on Thursday, December 8, 2016, Michigan's Livingston County Police dealt with a 40 car pileup that left 3 dead and 11 injured on the westbound side of I-96 between the the Okemos and Williamston exits. The pileup was a result of the recent snowfall causing whiteout conditions and had later frozen over the roads making them a hazard. 

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“It was very chaotic for them to get to the victims to assess the situation,” Livingston County's Lt. Eric Sanborn said at a news conference.

When the police finally arrived to the scene, they found a semi-truck that had been jackknifed across the majority of the lanes on I-96. They counted about a dozen vehicles that were scattered across ditches. Some drivers were located on the median or shoulder of the highway and several dozen other vehicles were found to be severely damaged and had to be quickly removed from the road. 

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The accident was so extensive, that the police closed down both the east and westbound lanes in order to rescue the cars that had slid into the median. Authorities also had to extend westbound I-96’s closure from M-59 to M-52 until later that evening, in order to properly remove the vehicles from the roadway. The eastbound expressway later opened for traffic at 2:50 PM.

Kathleen Gray, a Detroit Free Press reporter, was headed to Lansing, Michigan when she encountered the accident. She said the pileup caused "the most terrifying sound" she ever heard. Gray herself was almost hit by a tractor-trailer that skid on the ice behind her and was unable to flee due to traffic being at a standstill. "Fortunately, he was able to stop before plowing into me," Gray said, noting that "it probably took about an hour to get through the accident scene. Traffic was able to pull around the jackknifed tractor-trailer on the shoulder of the freeway."

With this recent snowfall and future ones in Michigan's forecast, drivers should let this accident serve as a grim reminder to drive slow, when there is snow.


As stated by the Free Press, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced that they, along with several road commissions and municipalities, will start using green lights on winter maintenance vehicles, which they hope will better catch drivers' attention and help reduce car crashes. No matter what precautions are taken however, car accidents are still always possible. If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident caused by hazardous weather conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Call us, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Autonomous Semi-Trucks Drive on Michigan Highway For First Time

Michigan Autonomous Car

For the first time ever, four autonomous semi-trucks were tested on Interstate 69 in Lapeer and St. Clair Counties in Michigan in July, 2016. The test was done by the U.S Army Tank Automotive Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) alongside the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC, told MLive that the testing, which included tracking the response of the vehicles to commands, represented “an opportunity for the U.S Army to leverage the technology and capability within this state.” The testing is also helping set federal standards and expectations while government leaders continue to craft legislation to make the possibility of driverless cars a reality on the roadways.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the event “the intersection of two wonderful initiatives we have going in the state to really talk the strengths of our state and the opportunities how we can help our country and the world...We’re moving forward on how we can deploy this is a safe fashion on our public roadways and bring this technology to bear to make Michigan a true leader,” Snyder said. Snyder also pointed out the progress being made at the University of Michigan’s MCity and the upcoming “Planet M” campaign. The growth of the driverless car industry will impact the Michigan economy as well. According to Lt. Governor Brian Calley the initiatives will employ approximately 100,000 residents and will allow Michigan to become a leader in the mobility industry outside of the auto industry. 

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Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, is excited about the possibilities of drawing the industry to the state. “We see opportunities for more research and development teams to be on the ground supporting that kind of activity,” Karcher said.

The obvious potential impact with the growth of driverless cars is increased safety. Kirk Steudle, Director of MDOT, said that autonomous technology can help cut down traffic deaths by 80%. MDOT has a goal of 350 miles worth of fiber optic lines being put in place by 2018, making Michigan the largest test bed in the United States for mobility research. 


While driverless cars may cut down on traffic accidents in the future, they are still too frequent on the road today. Injuries as minor as a few scratches or as severe as a closed head injury can change your day-to-day routine and your way of life. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will identify the help you are entitled too and will not rest until your case has been resolved. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

I-75 Project Begins in Oakland County Michigan Next Month

If you live or commute in Oakland County and were already sick of the number of orange construction barrels on the roads, you will be in for a big treat come mid-August. The Michigan Department of Transportation announced on July 19th, 2016 that the first project in the rebuilding of I-75 in Oakland County will begin this August. 

The two-year $90.8 million investment, which will stretch from Coolidge Highway to South Boulevard, will include reconstructing pavement, replacing bridges, and modernizing the Square Lake Road interchange. The Square Lake Road project involves replacing the left lane ramps at northbound I-75, and this will continue throughout the winter months. The good news however is that according to MDOT, this project will not impact traffic flow, like most construction projects usually do. 

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“Starting in mid-August, two lanes will be open in each direction of I-75 between Coolidge Highway and Squirrel Road, in order to safely allow crews to construct temporary crossovers. In September, two-way traffic will share the southbound lanes to allow for the reconstruction of northbound I-75, along with bridge replacement at Adams, Square Lake, and Squirrel roads,” MDOT said in a released statement. This roadwork will continue to impact commuters on I-75 and will remain in place until mid-December, when all lanes will be expected to open back up. 

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Oakland County residents aren’t exactly pleased with the upcoming construction in their area. More specifically, residents are upset about the increased noise that will be present due to all of the road work. “The construction is something we know can’t be stopped, and in the long run it’ll be fine. But the noise has tripled in places in my condo I’ve never had it before,” Karen Mellot, a resident of a condo complex located along I-75, told C&G Newspaper. At a meeting held by Oakland County Commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub and MDOT officials, residents caused an uproar, with many shouting at MDOT presenters and others walking out of the room.


As frustrating as ongoing construction may be, drivers are highly discouraged from runing their car right through those orange construction barrels and plowing their way through traffic. By not allowing frustration to turn into road rage drivers can avoid car accidents, crash related injuries, and a meeting with the police. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a car accident caused by aggressive driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you need and deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.