Car Accident Severely Injures Broadway Actress And Kills Two Children

When accidents happen, people often explain them away by saying that, "bad things happens to everyone." This saying is true because everyone in the world is at risk for being involved in a car accident, including celebrities. Celebrities are often forgotten about when it comes to accidents and sometimes it can come as a shock to the public when they are injured. On average, around 3,287 people are killed each day from car related accidents and celebrities have the same chance of being one of those people that everyone else does. One celebrity that was recently involved in a car crash is Ruthie Ann Miles.

Ruthie Ann Miles is a Broadway actress who made her debut in the musical, “The King and I,” which won her a Tony award in 2015. Ruthie was walking across a crosswalk in Brooklyn, New York with one of her friends, Lauren Lew, and both of their children, when a woman lost control of her car and hit them. According to the The Washington Post, Miles’ four-year-old daughter and Lews' one-year-old son were killed in the car crash instantly. Both women and a 46-year-old male pedestrian, who was also hit, were hospitalized for their injuries. Miles was pregnant at the time of the car crash, but thankfully, her unborn baby is unharmed.

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The driver of the car was Dorothy Burns, a 44-year-old woman from Staten Island, New York. The Washington Post reported that the woman was sitting at an intersection in Brooklyn when her car began to move forward. According to nearby pedestrians, the car started moving slowly then sped up and struck the victims. A law enforcement official said that Burns was not drunk at the time and has not been charged. USA Today reported that Burns suffers from multiple sclerosis and had a seizure while stopped at a red light, which caused her to lose control of her car. Investigators looked at Burns’ medical records and said that if doctors have never prohibited her from driving, she may not face any charges.

After news broke that Burns suffers from seizures many people were angered that she was able to drive. Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “She should never have been allowed to have been driving a car after what we know of these other violations.” He also said that measures were going to be taken to prevent such car accidents from happening again. “People who get behind the wheel of a car need to understand that they have a weapon in their hands,” de Blasio stated. One thing that Mayor de Blasio is known for is promoting Vision Zero, a traffic safety campaign that is, “committed to helping communities reach their goal of Vision Zero - eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries -while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.”

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Vision Zero focuses on reducing traffic accidents in major cities like New York. They believe that making smaller changes in not only major cities, but smaller suburban areas, can have a huge effect on saving the lives of many people in car accidents. Some strategies that they use to implement traffic accident safety are, lowering speed limits, redesigning streets, implementing meaningful behavior change campaigns, and enhancing data-driven traffic enforcement. If these car accident reducing strategies can help large cities like New York, maybe they can help reduce car accidents in Detroit too. The residents of Metro Detroit are used to the non-stop construction anyway, so why not make a few changes with the roads that possibly prevent future car accidents! 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there are 4,092 pedestrian motor vehicle deaths and 59,000 pedestrian car crash injuries each year. Taking action and making small traffic safety changes, like those Vision Zero implements, can greatly reduce the number of people killed in car accidents each year. Another thing that people should be aware of is their personal health in relation to road safety.Conditions such as seizures, as well as simple issues like not have an up-to-date prescription for glasses, may impair driving. Drivers who are unaware of health issues that impair driving or choose to ignore them, may be putting the lives of innocent people on line, every time they drive. The way to prevent car accidents due to medical conditions is to go to regular checkup with healtcare professionals and to be 100% cleared to opearate a motor vehicle. 


Driving safety and road safety are important factors in preventing accidents, but  the person driving the car is just as important. By making sure that you are medically cleared to safely operate a motor vehicle, individuals  can prevent future car crashes from occurring and saves them from making a call to a car accident attorney. However, car crashes happen every day, for several other, non-medical reasons. If you or someone you know needs more information on how to handle a car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC by calling 844.4MI.FIRM. Our experienced accident attorneys offer free, legal consultations.

Are Automated Traffic Cameras Harmful to Drivers?

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You are driving home from work, eager to beat rush hour. You pull up to a red light intending to make a right turn on red before oncoming traffic approaches. You successfully make your right turn, however, you happened to miss the ‘no turn on red’ sign in your rush to evade the traffic! Now, a Michigan State Police officer has stopped you and has given you a $130 ticket for making an illegal turn.

Despite the pain of receiving a traffic ticket, Michigan drivers may actually have it better than drivers in 25 other states in the US. In each of these 25 states, at least one form of automated traffic cameras have been permitted to monitor traffic and automatically punish offenders. There are two forms of these traffic cameras: speed enforcement cameras and red light cameras. Each of these cameras is equipped with a trigger and a computer. As reported by PhotoEnforced, once a driver has committed a traffic violation by exceeding the speed limit or running a red light, the camera is triggered and automatically snaps a photo of the act. The snapshot and a traffic fine is then mailed to the owner about a month later.

According to The Detroit News, these automated cameras have proved extremely lucrative for some cities and states. Since first installing automated cameras in 2003, Chicago has raised $625 million from traffic fines alone! Using over 400 cameras, Chicago currently collects about $45 million from traffic violations annually. After being hired by the city to study the effects of the traffic cameras, Northwestern University (NWU) reported a 14% increase in rear-end accidents in intersections where cameras were present. NWU also found that the public perception of the cameras is that they are very unfair due to the “dilemma zone.”

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As The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog previously discussed, the dilemma zone is the zone in which the yellow light turns red and the driver has to decide whether to brake immediately or drive through the intersection. To back up driver displeasure, NWU studies found that traffic violations are actually reduced if yellow lights are extended from three to four seconds. This time extension allows the driver more time to cross the intersection safely and avoid colliding with other cars. 

All of the information collected in NWU's study is important because, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration, in 2015, vehicle travel reached an all time high with over 3.1 trillion miles traveled. Among the 6 states with the lowest fatality rate, 5 have all banned automated traffic cameras.

How Some States Deal With Automated Cameras

The Texas Transportation Institute supported the claim to lengthen yellow lights by reporting a 40% decrease in intersection car collisions when one second is added to yellow lights. Adding an extra second does not come without a cost, however. Georgia tried mandating the extension of yellow light signals too, but as a result, private companies running the traffic signals went bankrupt due to the decrease in traffic violations.

Some other states have been modifying their laws regarding the use of automated cameras. In Oxnard, California, after collecting over $2 million from traffic violations in 2016, a court found the city guilty of not extending yellow light times after it had been mandated by the state 2 years prior.

In North Carolina, almost all automated cameras have been removed after the state ruled that all profits are to go to school systems rather than private companies. On the contrary, after banning red light cameras in Virginia in 2005, the state reinstated the cameras in July of 2016.

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Automated traffic cameras are less harmful to drivers when the yellow light is extended in their favor. Regardless of whether the traffic light is being run by a city or private company, when the yellow light is purposely shortened in an attempt to collect more revenue from tickets, the driving situation becomes harmful to the driver. In the case of shorter yellow lights, drivers have to decide whether to brake abruptly or proceed through the intersection and assume the risk of running a red light, both of which are actions that can result in dangerous car accidents.


Although Michigan does not permit the use of automated traffic cameras, the risk of being involved in an automobile accident at an intersection or traffic light is still prevalent. In some circumstances, the absence of traffic cameras could lead to drivers speeding more often and driving more aggressively at intersections.  If you have been involved in any type of car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our accident attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Shoppers Should Prepare For Black Friday Traffic

Black Friday. We’ve all seen the videos of massive crowds outside of a Walmart, people trampling over safety barricades at Target, and getting into fistfights over flat screen TVs at Best Buy. While consumer greed and violence are as closely associated with Black Friday as turkey is with Thanksgiving, something that often gets overlooked is Black Friday traffic. After all, those hordes of people storming the doors of the local mall had to get there somehow, right?

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Thanksgiving traffic is bad all week and Black Friday is no exception. According to data collected by Google, eager shoppers actually begin their drives to malls across the country on Thanksgiving evening. Traffic starts to pick up at around 4 PM on Thursday, with the number of drives over the course of Thursday evening being 5 times higher than a normal Thursday in November. Waze, a navigation app created by Google, found similar data. Users of the Waze app saw traffic peak throughout Thursday evening, drop off slightly overnight, and pick up again early Friday afternoon. Waze reports that traffic is at it’s worst on Friday between noon and 3 PM. Similarly, Time reports that traffic between 12 AM and 2 PM on Black Friday is significantly higher than traffic on an average November day. More drivers on the road than usual, coupled with the fact that they’re anxious to get to the store quickly and could be driving in an unfamiliar area, means that car accidents can happen. Drivers need to be alert and follow the rules of the road to avoid being involved in Black Friday traffic car crashes.

So where exactly is everyone going on Friday? In general, Waze found that people are most often searching for electronics stores, outlet malls, and Christmas tree farms. Unsurprisingly, they also found that the most searched for navigation destination on Black Friday in 2015 was Walmart. The app saw an 85% increase in the number of searches for Walmart as compared to other Fridays in November. Other department stores that were frequently searched for include Costco, Kohls, Macy’s, and Target.  For clothes, drivers were searching the most for Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Old Navy, Ross, and TJ Maxx. When it comes to home decor, drivers were most interested in finding Bed Bath and Beyond, Homegoods, Ikea, Lowes, and Home Depot. If your Black Friday plans include any of those destinations, know that the roads are going to be unavoidably congested with shoppers looking for good deals. It also means that if you wait to go Black Friday shopping until Friday afternoon, the store shelves could likely be empty when you get there.

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While Thanksgiving brings bountiful feasts and plenty of leftovers, Waze also found that searches for restaurants see a drastic increase on Black Friday as well. Mcdonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Panera Bread, In-N-Out, and Chipotle were the most searched for restaurants on Black Friday in 2015. In Detroit specifically, the most searched for term on Black Friday was “hamburgers.” If your Black Friday deal hunting makes you hungry, your best bet for hitting a restaurant is between 2 PM and 3 PM, so as to avoid lunch and dinner traffic.

A huge increase in the number of cars on the road unfortunately means there may be an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents as well. According to Time, there are 34% more automobile accidents on Black Friday as compared to the number of accidents in the two weeks before and after. The majority of those accidents were backing or parking related, which is not surprising considering how many people are trying to get in and out of parking lots on Black Friday. On the road, drivers are likely in a hurry to get to their destination, and could be making poor driving choices as a result. While no one likes sitting in traffic (especially when a great sale is on the line) drivers should know that bad traffic is something they need to expect when it comes to Black Friday shopping.

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But there is a chance that all of that could change, however, thanks of course to the internet. A report from the Chicago Tribune found that over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, there was a significant increase in the number of people who stayed home on Black Friday, and did all of their shopping online. The National Retail Federation found that “109 million people shopped from their computers and mobile devices from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, while about 99 million hit the sales in brick-and-mortar stores.” The year before, the numbers were more evenly split, with 103 million people shopping online and 102 million in stores. The internet has already changed much of how we live our lives, and maybe soon we will be able to thank it for saving us from Black Friday traffic.

Everyone loves a great sale and being able to knock out some holiday shopping early. And while the crowds inside the store are one thing, the crowds getting to the store are quite another. If you plan on going Black Friday shopping, traffic should be a part of that plan. Roads, especially near malls and shopping centers, are going to be congested. You probably can’t do anything to change how much traffic there will be, but you can be responsible for planning for it. Know that your drive to Target is probably going to take longer than it does on a normal day, and build that time into your schedule accordingly. When you’re on the road, don’t let your frustration with traffic and desire for a great deal on an iPad result in dangerous driving behavior. In the parking lot, check and double check that your path is clear when pulling into and backing out of parking spots, and espescially be on the lookout for pedestrians and shopping carts. There is no Black Friday sale that is worth risking your life, the lives of those you are traveling with, and the lives of other people on the road.


Don't let your desire for a good sale get the best of you this Black Friday. With so many drivers on the road, traffic will be bad and car collisions can happen. If you or a loved one are injured in an automobile accident this Black Friday, or any other day of the year, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Autonomous Vehicles are Being Tricked by Manipulated Traffic Signs

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A developing threat to autonomous vehicles has demanded more attention from engineers recently. Graffiti and stickers partially covering traffic signs, or re-imaging signs in some cases, is being seen to confuse autonomous vehicles and causing them to read the signs wrong. According to DailyMail, a study conducted by the University of Washington concluded that slight variations to signs, or signs that have been manipulated, can cause artificial intelligence (AI) systems (the technology that drives autonomous vehicles) to malfunction. 

In one of the studies, the words ‘love’ and ‘hate were placed on a stop sign above and below the word ‘STOP’. After doing this, the researchers reported that the smart vehicle misread the sign as a ‘speed limit 45’ sign. The researchers tried another experiment by copying a right hand turn arrow that mimicked the real sign, but they slightly altered the color of the arrow. The color variation caused the AI system to mistake the right turn sign for a stop sign. 

The experiments were intended to point out that the AI systems found in these autonomous vehicles can be easily deceived by slight alterations to traffic signs. Even signs with a minimal amount of graffiti that would otherwise be legible to humans can potentially cause a smart vehicle to ignore it or misread it. The researchers hope that by conducting this study automakers will be made aware of this issue, and they hope automakers will figure out ways to program defense mechanisms inside the AI technology to prevent such cases from occurring. The fear with this issue is that unless automakers can program AI systems to detect signs despite graffiti-ridden, hackers can potentially manipulate signs to cause automobile accidents. The researchers stated that both experiments did not include any special resources, “just need access to a color printer and a camera.” Anyone who has access to these two things can manipulate traffic signs to do harm to the general public. It is essential that automakers work toward amending these issues within artificial intelligence systems and mitigate risks facing the public.

Credit  Becky Stern

DailyMail also reports that in addition to manipulated traffic signs confusing autonomous vehicles, other growing fears related to autonomous cars include hackers being able to gain access to personal information through a vehicle's AI system or steal a car through key-less entry. Martin Callanan, United Kingdom’s appointed Minister of Transport, weighed in on the issue stating, “we need to make sure that the designs of the vehicles in the first place are completely cyber secure so that people can't break into them, they can't steal them and more importantly they can't hack them to potentially cause accidents.”

Autonomous technology is groundbreaking innovation that will have a very positive impact on the way individuals transport, yet there is still progress to be made. This study conducted by the University of Washington is very important and identifies a tremendous problem facing self navigating technology. The value of this study is that it brings this issue to light during what still is the early stages of autonomous vehicle development. Automakers must be aware of this issue, as well as other potential dangers facing AI systems, so they may develop programs and defense mechanisms for the safety of citizens and the general public.


Issues facing autonomous technology are becoming more prevalent as the future of self-driving vehicles approaches. Yet, until the majority of society does shift toward autonomous vehicle transportation, the most important risk facing drivers is human error and the threat of a car accident. Have you been involved in an automobile accident? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation.

Overheated Car? Here's A Few Tips.

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It’s rush hour, the freeway is packed, it's 90 degrees outside and the air conditioning is at full blast in the car. While most drivers are busy complaining about the stop and go traffic, they may not notice their car's temperature gauge edging past the middle line and slowly creeping toward ‘H’. Then the ‘check engine light’ comes on and the driver realizes they didn’t check their fluids last weekend like they were supposed to. Just as this comes to mind, the vehicle begins to lag and stutter and soon smoke plumes began to rise from underneath the hood of the car. Now they are stuck on the side of the road.

How Do Cars Overheat?

There are actually quite a few things that can lead a car to overheat. Luckily however, many of the ways cars overheat are often times fixable and even avoidable. As mentioned above, one way a car can overheat, is if not enough engine coolant is put into the vehicle, causing the remaining fluid to congeal and no longer circulate between the radiator and the engine. When the coolant is unable to circulate, it causes the engine to work harder and burn out. The engine congealed coolant can also form a blockage and prevent the radiator from fairly distributing the heat from the engine. Other possible factors that can cause a blockage are, a build up of inside or outside fluids, the thermostat’s flap refusing to open and close, and even an unknown or forgotten object getting lodged in the cooling system.

A car engine's cooling system is a very temperamental thing that should be kept an eye on, in order to sport potential leaks that can allow air to get inside the system and form a bubble, which in turn causes coolant fluid to be blocked from reaching where it needs to go.

Another leading cause of cars overheating, is a failed water pump. The cooling system inside a car relies on water to keep the vehicle at a reasonable temperature, and without it can lead a car to overheat within minutes.

Overheated Car Tips

With the dog days of summer in full effect, now is the time to brush up on what to do when a vehicle is overheated. Thankfully, AAMCO, an American transmission repair company, has a few tips on how drivers can prevent their car from overheating and what to do in case it does.

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's  The X-Files

Source: GIPHY, Fox Broadcasting Company's The X-Files

  • “If the air conditioning is on, turn it off and roll down the windows.” Then, turn the car's heat on instead and roll down the windows to reroute some of the heat from the engine.
  • If the car's temperature continues to rise, it’s best to turn on the hazard lights and maneuver the vehicle to a safe area. If the driver feels that the area they are in is not safe, AAMCO assures that a stop and go method until arriving at a safe destination is reasonable, as long as the driver waits long enough for the car to cool a bit before driving onward.
  • Once a driver is in a well lit and safe space, they should take note of any possible smoke rising from the hood of the car and see if the hood feels extremely hot to the touch. This will help them determine if it is safe to open up the hood of the car and proceed to analyze if the engine or the radiator is the issue. However, touching anything is a big no-no until everything has cooled down.
  • It should go without saying that an overheating car should be immediately fixed by a state licensed mechanic in order to prevent possible car fires and accidents. A driver could become anxious and distracted while driving and trying to handle the fact that their car is overheating, causing other drivers to panic or react rashly.
  • It usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour for the engine and radiator to cool, after which, the driver can safely proceed to check the engine's coolant to see where the fluid level exactly is. If the coolant seems dangerously low or none seem to be inside, a 50/50 mixture of water and engine coolant is the best way to go.
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  • If the engine coolant level seems fine, the next place to look is the hoses. The hoses could have possibly been severed or have a leak. Look around for any puddles of fluid on the ground, and if that help find the leak, listen to see if any fluids are draining from the car.
  • “Restart the car and check the temperature gauges on the dash.” Then, eyeball the temperature gauge to see if it still reads in the red. If not, proceed forward, but if it still reads that the car is hot, turn it off and wait a while for the vehicle to cool. After a while, if the car is still overheating, there are one of two possible explanations-either the temperature gauge is broken or the vehicle needs to be serviced.

Though these tips don't guarantee that inexperienced people will be able to fix an overheating car by themselves, without the help of a licensed professional, they may be good temporary suggestions that drivers can consider while waiting for a professional to come to their aid. At the very least, drives who are concerned that their car is overheated or sense that their motor vehicle is acting up while on the road, should immediately pull over, in order to avoid a car collision, and then call for help. The last thing drivers want is their car to stop in the middle of the highway or an intersection, bringing on the risk of becoming involved in a car accident.


An overheating car is not something to take lightly. Drivers should make sure to service their vehicles regularly, and especially when the 'check engine' light comes on, to prevent future wear and tear on car parts that can hinder a motor vehicle's performance. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced 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.

Elon Musk Announces Approval of Hyperloop Connecting NY to DC

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Elon Musk is certainly not afraid of the spotlight. The business mogul has wowed the nation in the past by taking on ambitious projects such as launching the first recycled rocket, planning to colonize Mars, and attempting to design the safest vehicle that also happens to be electric and affordable to the common citizen. 

As reported by Forbes, the serial entrepreneur has raised eyebrows once again by taking to Twitter last week, to announce that he had received verbal government approval to build a hyperloop below ground, that would connect New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. In the tweet, Musk wrote that the hyperloop will deliver cars between New York and Washington, D.C. in 29 minutes.

The hyperloop is planned to be built by The Boring Company, a Los Angeles based infrastructure and tunneling company, founded by none other than Musk himself. Musk started the company back in 2016 after he began juggling with the idea of building tunnels for travel. The concept, as of now, entails elevators, which look like parking spaces located on the side of roads, that are actually platforms that can carry a vehicle below ground, to the hyperloop rail. These platforms would then deliver the car and its passengers at very high speeds of around 150 mph through the tunnel. In another tweet Musk wrote that each city would have about a dozen platforms built alongside commercial roads.

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The sub-ground hyper rail concept originally stems from Musk’s earlier 2012 vision, of an above ground tube train that he believed would be the future of travel. Musk initially envisioned above ground tubes delivering individuals housed in pods, at speeds close to 700 mph. Hyperloop One, a company also based in Los Angeles, adopted Musk's old idea and has been working to make his vision a reality. The company is looking to commercialize the hyperloop system and allow individuals to travel at the super-speeds for a fraction of the cost.

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Musk’s current vision meanwhile, is focused on below ground travel, transporting people in their own vehicles through underground tunnels, at very high speeds. Musk explains that one of the main reasons this large project is necessary, is to alleviate traffic congestion in large cities. In response to a tweet asking if he is considering adding underground hyperloops in other cities as well, Musk confirms that he is evaluating loops connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a loop for Texas.

There are still more questions about the project than answers. Musk did not specify who gave the verbal approval, however, he did say official approval will be given soon. It has also not been specified how the project will be funded either, which is a quite a looming question given the high cost of tunneling. For example, the Second Avenue Subway built along the East Side of Manhattan cost $4.5 billion to construct just three more stops.

It can't be ignored however, that an underground hyperloop would be an extraordinary innovation in the world of travel. Traffic congestion is an everyday issue that causes delays, and poses potential road rage car crash and pedestrian accident risks. This project would revolutionize how people travel by offering a much faster means of transportation while also greatly reducing traffic in large cities. There are still many questions about the project that Musk will hopefully answer, or tweet about, in the near future. 


Only time will tell if Elon Musk is successful in constructing an underground hyperloop. The underground hyper rail would allow for exceptionally faster transportation between cities, while alleviating traffic congestion. In the meantime however, traffic congestion is still a major problem that can cause stress for drivers and may even lead to road rage car accidents. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a reckless driver or a road rage driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation. 

New Traffic Signal Helps Save Pedestrian Lives

One New York City suburb has gone without a single pedestrian-motor vehicle accident in the past year. Leonia, New Jersey has implemented a new traffic signal for one of the area's busiest crossroads. The intersection between Fort Lee Road and Broad Avenue has introduced an all-red phase traffic signal, stopping traffic in all directions for 26 seconds every other cycle. 

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The intersection is often congested with vehicles trying to take a different route across the Hudson River, other than the crowded George Washington Bridge. With all four directions temporarily turned red, pedestrians can safely cross the busy intersection and even cross diagonally if desired.

During the two years before the introduction of the all-red signal phase, 7 pedestrians were hit by cars at the intersection. One New Jersey woman was dragged more than 70 feet along the road, leading to her death.  

Mayor Judah Zeigler told USA TODAY, “If we had kept going down the course we were going down, it was really a matter of when, not if, another pedestrian would be killed.”  

Senior citizens, who take longer to cross the road, and students benefit the most from the all red-signal, according to Chief Thomas Rowe of the Leonia Police Department. Many students walk to a nearby elementary school that is less than a block away from the intersection. School foot traffic coincides with rush hour, further clogging the roads and endangering pedestrians. 

Rowe said, “The benefits have been exactly what we were hoping for, and there’s absolutely no reason for us to go back to the way it used to be. I can’t allow our pedestrians to be put in danger.” 

While some motorists have complained about traffic being further delayed by the all-red signal phase, it is clear that pedestrian safety is the number one priority for the city of Leonia. 

Throughout the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says on average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes. Considering this staggering statistic, it is no surprise that towns such as Leonia are taking steps to improve pedestrian safety. In addition, both pedestrians and drivers can take steps to keep roads safer. People on foot should use sidewalks to cross streets whenever possible, be visible with bright or reflective clothing, and never assume that automobile drivers see them. Motor vehicle operators on the other hand, should always watch for pedestrians, slow down, and be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk, and use extra caution in hard-to-see conditions, like at night or in bad weather. 

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Accidents happen; that's reality. However, efforts taken by cities like Leonia to make roads safer for pedestrians may help prevent serious injuries or fatalities from car crashes. Everyone has been a pedestrian at some point in their lives. If all it takes to keep people on their feet is stopping at a red traffic light for 26 seconds longer, more cities need to take note in order to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions. 


Chickens aren't the only ones trying to cross the road. Pedestrians walking on busy roads are constantly at risk of being hit by a motor vehicle, even when all they want is to get to the other side. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian motor vehicle collision, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Fatalities

Memorial Day celebrates the many men and women who have risked their lives to defend our country, but it also kicks off Summer travels. Whether by plane, train, boat or car, most Americans use this long weekend for a short getaway. With so many people leaving on vacation however, congestion and accidents are expected to follow. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 439 people will be killed and 50,500 will be seriously injured, over this three day weekend, due to Memorial Day motor vehicle crashes. 

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Memorial Day Car Crash Statistics

This year, it is expected that nearly 39.3 million Americans will go on vacation for Memorial Day. 88.1% of those traveling are planning to do so by driving, despite gas prices being increased by 11 cents since Memorial Day 2016. Additional statistics estimate that out of the over 50,000 car accidents and injuries incurred on this holiday every year, that 44% of these car crashes involve alcohol. In Michigan alone, out of all of the fatal car accidents that took place over Memorial Day weekend in 2015, approximately 33% of these motor vehicle accidents included a pedestrian or driver with alcohol in their system, according to Michigan State Police (MSP) reports.

Safe Driving Recourse

Although there are’t any plans to set up drunk driving checkpoints over the holiday weekend due to the questionable legality in Michigan, the MSP will still be on the road identifying drunk drivers and distracted drivers. MSP will also be involved with the Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts operation (C.A.R.E.), which is an international traffic safety initiative to keep the roadways safe during the Memorial Day weekend. Other programs that MSP will be participating in are the nationwide “Click it or Ticket” kickoff geared toward making sure that both children and adults are properly wearing and using their seat-belts. If a Michigan police officer discovers a driver not wearing a seat-belt between May 23 to June 5, they can expect to receive a base fine of approximately $65. 

Memorial Day Weekend Travel Safety Tips

Unfortunately, tickets and fines don't deter everyone into following the rules of the road. Therefore, even if you are adhering to the law, that doesn't mean that every other driver on the road will. So, for those who are planning on traveling by car, truck, bus, or RV this weekend, here are a few traffic safety tips provided by CNN News:

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  • Drive shorter distances. It is reasonably deduced that with the large number of drivers on the road who are traveling long distances, accidents can be reduced if other drivers drive shorter distances.  

  • Take the highway. On highways everyone is heading in the same direction and there are no turn lanes, so, traffic doesn't often stop - unless a car crash or traffic jam occurs. This helps make for a quicker journey than taking local roads which usually eat up time with red lights, turn lanes, and four way traffic.

  • Congestion could save a life. As odd as it sounds, taking the road less traveled could lead to speeding and accidents. In congested traffic, the only way to go is slow, which can further prevent accidents from happening or at least lessen the damage caused by any potential impact.

  • Leave early. Based on Waze traffic congestion studies, it is best to avoid the roads on Thursday between 3 to 5 P.M., on Friday from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M., and on Monday from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

  • Don’t drive under the influence. Is there really much more that needs to be said? Driving under the influence can affect reaction time, cognitive functions, and motor skills, all of which can lead to drunk driving car accidents.

  • Drowsy driving is a no-go. When experiencing constant blinking, swerving, or trouble recalling the last few miles, take it as a sign to pull over and rest or to switch drivers if possible. Falling asleep behind the wheel can lead to motor vehicle accidents and irreparable injuries. 

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It's also a general rule when driving any time that drivers should stay focused at all times on the road. That means no distractions from pets, phones, or even passengers. In this day and age, it's especially important to refrain from trying to text, post, tweet, record a video, or do anything else that can potentially cause attention to move away from the road. As many studies show, there are enough accidents caused around Memorial Day every year that could be avoided if drivers just take their time, drive responsibly, and abide by traffic laws.

Unofficial start of Summer aside, Memorial Day should be respected and we should do our best to remember those who died to serve our country. Thank you to those who laid down their lives in service, to those who have served, and to those who are serving. 


It is important for Michigan drivers to be aware that with the Summer travel season upon us, that the roads will quickly fill up with people wanting to take advantage of the warm weather. This surplus of out of town drivers on the road will cause travel times to be extended and thereby make crash statistics increase. Long weekends like Memorial Day, may even bring out an influx of road rage accidents and aggressive driving accidents. If you or a loved one becomes involved in a car accident over Memorial Day weekend, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to victims of motor vehicle accidents. Speak to a Michigan car crash lawyer today at 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Clinton Township Hall Road Reconstruction

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If any motorists have ventured down Hall road (M-59) recently, they should have noticed that the area is under major construction. That's because Michigan’s Clinton Township Board of Trustees voted to upgrade M-59 back on December 7, 2016. 

These upgrades include adding an extra lane to help ease traffic congestion, new roads paved with asphalt, easily visible traffic signs, and replacing traffic lights with safer versions that are designed to decrease swaying.

The Cost Of Clinton Township Safety

Local 4 disclosed that the estimated cost of the total reconstruction project, which will take place over a year and a half, is $60 million. Despite the high cost, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon claims that the upgrades are necessary in order for Clinton Township to be up to par with Sterling Heights, Shelby Township and Macomb Townships' new upgrades. Also, Cannon confirmed with the county's Finance Department to confirm that the cost of this massive reconstruction wouldn't actually put a strain on the county's budget.

Cannon also agrees with Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn that these upgrades will alleviate safety concerns on Hall Road, in regards to the perils of walking or biking across M-59, due to the current status of the broken down crosswalks. In fact, just in the months of January through August 2016, the Accident Data Center (ADC) recorded Macomb Township having 7 accidents, 3 of which involved pedestrians. That is more than enough justification for Clinton Township to repair their crosswalks.

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What Has Been Done So Far?

The reconstruction of Hall Road officially started back in March, 2017 and so far Phase 1 of the project is underway. Phase 1 entails repaving the street in asphalt, adding the modern mast arm traffic signals, improved drainage, replacing traffic signs, upgrading the sidewalks to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and planting some new greenery. Once this is all completed, Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in March 2018. 

While the replacement of unsafe traffic lights and the repair of broken down roads leads to the future safety of the citizens of Clinton Township, Michigan, the construction itself may cause problems in the current time. Accidents in construction zones are unfortunately very common. Whether it's an improperly labelled construction site or debris from tearing up concrete that may lead to a pedestrian fall, or angry drivers experiencing road rage from closed roads possibly causing automobile crashes, construction sites can be unsafe. Therefore, it is important for drivers and pedestrians to be cautious and attentive when they see construction cones and signs, in order to avoid serious construction injuries.


With many cyclist, pedestrian, and motor vehicle accidents accidents occurring on M-59, it's wonderful that Clinton Township is updating Hall Road's safety. Although the construction will be costly, it is worth spending the money to save innocent pedestrians and bicyclists from being involved in automobile accidents. However, while the upgrades are taking place, travelers on Hall Road should take extra precaution to avoid becoming injured by the construction. If you or someone you know has been involved in a collision at a construction site, call the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. We fight for our victims rights to receive compensation as they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call 844.MI.FIRM today for a free consultation.

Detroit Earns Poor Traffic Congestion Ranking

Detroit, Michigan was recently ranked 128th in the top 200 cities with the worst traffic congestion in the world, and 24th nationally. The ranking was compiled by INRIX, a global company that provides mobile applications and internet services. They conducted their study on more than 1,000 cities from around the world and found that Detroit motorist spend an average of 33 hours in traffic. 

According to the report, “Based on the findings, the U.S. ranked as the first most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 42 hours a year in traffic during peak hours...For the first time, the INRIX Traffic Scorecard also includes the direct and indirect costs of congestion to all U.S. drivers, which amounted to nearly $300 billion in 2016, an average of $1,400 per driver."

Traffic Jam

Michigan Cities' Rankings

MLive says that INRIX's report that drivers in Detroit were found to spend 6% of their driving time in traffic compared to the average 104 hours motorists spent in traffic in 2016. However, other major cities in Michigan such as Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Kalamazoo were also included in the study. Ann Arbor came close on Detroit’s heels finishing at number 257 worldwide and 40 in the US. Overall. INRIX found that Ann Arbor drivers spent 24.4 hours on average in congestion versus the 13 hours motorists in Grand Rapids would most likely spend behind the wheel of their vehicle. Lansing drivers spent 9.5 hours on average in traffic, followed by Flint with 8.9 hours, Saginaw at 3 hours, and Kalamazoo clocking in at 2 hours.  

How to Avoid Traffic Congestion

With traffic congestion becoming a growing problem on Michigan roadways, MLive offers a few tips that drivers could follow to make their commute a more enjoyable one.  

  • Plan Your Commute. Gauge how much time your traffic route takes during rush hour. Drivers can simply plug in the address of their destination on Google Maps or another mapping service to discover alternative routes and their estimated times of arrival. Also, taking the time to decide on clothing attire for the next day, making lunches beforehand, packing, etc. can all aide in making sure motorists leave the house without rushing and becoming flustered. 
  • Be Productive - Safely. During time in congestion when traffic is at a complete stop or when at a red light, make that appointment that has been postponed, learn a new language, send a quick email or text or even read up on some of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog posts that were missed. However, when traffic is moving, even if it's at a snail's pace, all eyes and attention must be on the road. 
  • Choose Your Station Wisely. If the other two options fail at making time move faster, try putting on a favorite podcast, comedy station, or playing a soothing playlist to calm any agitated nerves. 

Road Rage and Car Crashes 

Incidents of road rage can occur during times of rush hour. People are irritated and ready to get home but are prevented from doing so because so many others are trying to do the same thing at the exact same time. Even thinking about tailgating, cutting people off, incessant honking, weaving in and out of traffic, lane blocking, and all of the irritating aspects of traffic congestion are enough to make a saint angry. These irritating aspects are also actions that may cause dangerous and injurious car accidents. So, motorists should keep in mind that all drivers are in the same boat, that sharing the road is proper etiquette, and that adhering to traffic laws will assist with making roadways safe and easy for everyone to use.  Hopefully using the tips listed above can also help with safely commuting during rush hour.


Detroit is called the Motor City for a reason. Cars are made here, driven here, and are an essential piece to the culture. With so many motorists on the road, possible agitations can arise and lead to accidents caused by aggressive driving. If you or someone you know have been a victim of road rage, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM today. Our offers free consultations to help victims of car accidents figure out the next step in their case.

State Policeman, "What To Do When Police Pull You Over?"

When flashes of red and blue appear in the rear view mirror and the piercing sound of a siren soon follows, many drivers begin to panic as they realize they are being pulled over by the police. Drivers start thinking back on all of the bad things they ever done while behind the wheel of the car - that time when they were speeding to make it to work on time, another time when they didn't use a turn signal when changing lanes, or all those times they were texting while driving. Rather than freaking out, motorists should keep a level head, and remember the following information on how to handle a police stop. 

Michigan State Police Lieutenant Rob Davis recently spoke with an MLive reporter in order to supply the public with, what he calls, proper traffic stop etiquette. Lt. Davis warns that his advice is not to be taken as a "how-to-guide" for traffic stops, since no two traffic stops are the same. Nonetheless he has supplied the public with a general rule of thumb of what to do when being pulled over.

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What To Do When Pulled Over By Police

1. Acknowledge That You Are Being Pulled Over

Drivers can do this by simply turning on their turn signal to alert not only the officer that they intend to pull over to the side, but other drivers as well. “I can’t speak for everyone else but this simple gesture always held a lot of weight in my decision making,” Lt. Davis said. 

2. Get To A Safe Location

What Lt. Davis means by finding a safe spot is that the driver should find an area on the roadway where they can be easily seen by passersby. Make sure the area is well lit not just for the safety of the driver but for the officer as well. That means avoiding sharp curves or bends, dark intersections, deserted roads, etc. 

3. Roll Down Your Windows

Once a safe area is found and the motorist has put their car in park, Lt. Davis states that rolling down both side windows, especially if they are tinted, and if need be, turning on the interior lights of the car, is a good idea. "It makes it easier for both parties to see." Lt. Davis said.

4. Police Are Naturally Cautious, Don't Be Offended

This advice goes to those motorists who instantly respond with hostility or offense at the officer's cautious approach. The officer who signaled for you to pull over is trained to be vigilant and to be prepared for anything. It's nothing personal. Just as the motorist may not know the officer, the officer doesn't know the driver or how they may react.

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5. "Identification and Proof Of Insurance, Please"

First, Lt. Davis warns that if a driver must go digging for their documentation, they should wait until the officer signals them to do so. Secondly, drivers should refrain from removing their seat belt unless the officer wants them to step out of the vehicle.

6. "Did You Know You Were Doing 10 Over The Speed Limit?" 

This is the point in the traffic stop that many drivers hate, because depending on their response they will either be walking away with a citation or a simple warning and a promise to the officer to never do it again. Lt. Davis said, “Hopefully the officer will advise you whether you're receiving a ticket or not prior to returning to his car."

7. You Are Free To Go

The end of a traffic stop is once again decided by the officer. Drivers should have their documentation returned back to them, a ticket, or not, and a verbal confirmation given by the police deputy. 

8. Safely Merge Back Into Traffic

Once again, drivers shouldn't be offended by the officer remaining behind them with their lights on. More than likely the officer wants to make sure that the driver is safely back in traffic or is finishing up paperwork or even answering another call.  

Whether a driver agrees with the ticket or not, they should accept the officer's judgement and wait to argue the ticket in a hearing rather than confronting the issuing officer. Try to keep from making the situation worse by physically or verbally showing anger. The officer is simply doing their job by making sure the roads are safe for everyone. 

These tips are just that, tips. They are not rules to follow and do not guarantee that you won't get a ticket. Instead, these are polite pieces of advice to follow to ensure that a traffic stop goes over smoothly and respectfully on both the officer and the driver's end.


Traffic stops are not enjoyable and can be quite nerve wrecking, but hopefully Lt. Davis' advice will help relieve the pressure in how to properly conduct one's self in case a traffic stop happens. Is there a traffic ticket you want to argue in court? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Ann Arbor's Traffic Enforcement Campaign

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Two years ago, Ann Arbor, Michigan was the target of a traffic enforcement campaign intended to get drivers to stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. To enforce the campaign, officers were stationed at 36 crosswalks. Within six months, Ann Arbor police made over 1,300 stops, issued 480 citation,s and 903 warnings for speeding and other violations. This has led to an 11% drop in traffic stops within Ann Arbor. 

Of course, the campaign has received complaints but, since Ann Arbor pedestrian car accidents have decreased, the city council is looking forward to implementing the same campaign at Western Michigan University (WMU). The council has assigned $150,000 to WMU in order to increase driver yielding rates at crosswalks, more importantly, mid-block pedestrian crossings. The money is budgeted to pay the policing staff for overtime, work assignments, data preparation, field reviews, project managers and improvement to infrastructure such as signs and pavement markings. The city also intends to find and work with community partners like the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition to address issues such as pedestrian safety. 

Since Ann Arbor's sidewalk ordinances are different from the rest of Michigan, the police are trying to make sure people are informed. This creates a bit of a challenge when some of the drivers who aren’t from Ann Arbor. 

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Ann Arbor Police Officer Jamie Adkins, took the time to educate citizens about mid-block pedestrian crossings and what you should do when approaching them by saying, "[These are] marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks that have curb cuts. There are some nuances to it in terms of if they're coming into your path versus moving away from your path, but the crux of it is that Ann Arbor requires motorists to stop for pedestrians who are waiting to cross at the crosswalk.”

"The original program's success has been found to be sustainable through follow-up research four years later,” wrote city traffic engineer, Cynthia Redinger, in her memo explaining the study.

The study has also gained recognition in Florida through Ron Van Houten, a psychology professor at WMU, who is looking to implement the study for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers nationwide can look forward to seeing pedestrian crosswalk ordinances being enforced for public safety through traffic citations. With the nation's growing concern of accidents caused in pedestrian crossing zones, it was only a matter of time before states took notice and started to correct the problem. 


Ann Arbor's traffic enforcement campaign has brought to light how supplementing enforcement and education can greatly improve pedestrian and motorist safety. Studies have proven, that in changing drivers attitudes when approaching and yielding at crosswalks, it can, in turn, improve traffic flow and keep accidents from occurring in pedestrian crosswalks. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a driver neglecting to adhere to crosswalk ordinances, please call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC.  Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Safety Organizations Concerned As Traffic Fatalities Rise

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and State Highway Safety Office members are becoming alarmed over the increase in motor vehicle fatalities in the United States. In 2015, 35,200 individuals lost their lives while on the road, representing the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7%) since national record-keeping began. 

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“Although that figure is well below the more than 40,000 people killed annually just a decade ago, each death on U.S roadways is unacceptable, and, after many years of progress, this increase is troubling,” Claims Journal wrote in an article this past week. The safety organizations say there are clear solutions to this increasing problem. Solutions include strong road laws with highly-visible law enforcement and more in depth public education campaigns. When these tactics have been used in the past, the nation has seen a nearly 25% drop in the number of fatalities between 2005 and 2014, including a record low in 2011. 

The GHSA has repeatedly stated that they are determined to keep the most at-risk road users safe. While auto accident fatalities have risen quite dramatically in the past year, pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities have increased even more. Those groups have seen a 10% increase each in fatalities over the past year. The Claims Journal points out that while “improving vehicle safety has increased the likelihood for passenger vehicle occupants to survive a crash, pedestrians and motorcyclists lack these same benefits and remain just as susceptible to serious injury or death in the event of a collision.”

The GHSA has a similar goal to what the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police have been promoting, a “Towards Zero Deaths” campaign. Part of the campaign reminds drivers on the expressway how many motor vehicle fatalities there have been so far in 2016 by updating electronic highway signs. 


As accident fatalities continue to rise across the United States, drivers must become more cautious when out on the road. Next time you think you can make that yellow light going on red, think about the people you could be putting in danger, including yourself. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident caused by reckless or aggressive driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, including collisions caused by careless driving. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.