A Healthy Economy Can Cause Traffic Accident Deaths

The Detroit Free Press reported that traffic accident deaths have decreased last year after a 2-year spike in deaths. They do caution however, that it's not time for celebration just yet. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 40,100 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2017, which is down just under 1% from the 2016 total of 40,327. The NSC also said that it’s too early to tell if the decline in traffic deaths will continue to decrease, because the previous two years saw spikes in traffic accident deaths. Between 2014 and 2015, traffic accidents increased by 7%, making it the steepest increase in fatalities in the last 50 years. Before 2016, yearly traffic deaths had not yet reached 40,000. So, why the sudden increase in traffic deaths?

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Forbes.com reported that 2009-2012 were the worst 5 years of the US economy since the Great Depression. In December of 2012, the number of people employed declined by 3 million people. That means that between those 5 years, 3 million fewer people were working and fewer people were driving on the roads to and from work. Having fewer people driving on the road caused the number of traffic deaths to decrease to the lowest deaths per year. Supporting this is NSC data which shows that the lowest traffic accident deaths per year occurred in 2011 with 32,000 deaths. 

Following 2012, the economy started to get better and more people were employed. While a rise in employment is great news for the economy and the employed individuals, more people began driving more miles, which caused the spike in traffic accident deaths. As the economy recovered people began driving more often by going out on weekends, driving down unfamiliar roads, and driving longer distances, and while driving engaged in distracted driving behaviors.

The recovering economy explains why there are more people on the roads, which also explains the increase in traffic deaths. The more people driving the more risk of car accidents. So what is the explanation for distracted driving being a factor in traffic deaths? Fortune.com called distracted driving a new “epidemic.” One cause for the distracted driving epidemic is cell phones. Fortune mentions that in a survey of 2,300 people about their driving habits, 56% of people admitted to using their cell phones while driving. They also reported that for every 11 miles driven, the average person is on their phone for 0.4 miles of the drive. It doesn’t seem like a lot of distance or that it could be very dangerous, but using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Looking away from the road for any amount of time may lead to a distracted driving car accident. 

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Touch screens inside car interiors are also a new driving distraction. A majority of new cars come with a touch screens instead of button and knobs. While the touch screen is a technological upgrade, it also requires users to look at the screen to select options, which makes it a big distraction. Although volume knobs and scanner buttons are also encourage distracted driving among other driving problems, they are a lesser evil because many people can reach out for these button without looking away from the road. In cases of a touch screen though, it's always safer to have passengers change settings in the car or to use voice activated commands, if a newer car has them. And if a vehicle has voice commands, it likely has Bluetooth, which helps avoid having to use cell phones to text or make calls, while driving. So, there are some new car technologies can prevent drivers from getting into distracted driving car crashes. Hopefully, these advancements along with a hopefully healthy economy will allow 2018 to continue the decline in traffic deaths!


As much as everyone loves staying home and ordering everything they need on Amazon with 2 day shipping, we can't avoid driving because of the risk of getting in a car accident. Instead, we should do our best to minimize the risk of car accidents by not engaging in distracted driving behaviors like using cell phones while driving. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. For a free legal consulataion, dial 844.4MI.FIRM. 

Millennials Showing New Interest in SUVs

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC recently introduced readers to the Chrysler Portal, a concept car from Chrysler Fiat that was billed as a millennial dream car. It included selfie taking capabilities, shared playlists, LED accent lighting, and facial recognition software. Chrysler created the car in an attempt to combat the lack of interest from millennials in the automotive industry. 

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Well fortunately or unfortunately, the car selfies will have to wait. Car manufacturers such as Chrysler should be relieved by new data released by Autotrader and published in the Detroit Free Press which suggests that millennials are showing a newfound interest in SUVs. Data taken from an Autotrader survey showed that 40% of millennials say their dream car is an SUV. This growing interest from millennials aligns with an emphasis from car manufacturers on family-carrying vehicles. According to Ford US sales analyst Erich Merkle, who spoke to the Free Press, sales of SUVs are up across the board - large SUVs are up 12%, midsize SUVs are up 9%, and compact SUVs are up 4%. On top of that, consumers become very loyal to SUVs after their first purchase. Buyers cite the biggest selling points of SUVs to be the cargo space, higher seating position, ease of getting in and out, and extra seating. For instance, Ford's best selling car with millennials is the Escape, which can seat seven. After all, you can't have #squadgoals if the entire squad can't fit in the car!

While the features of the Chrysler Portal may be trendy for millennials, they might not be the safest. Millennials like to multitask, but keeping an eye on the road while trying to take the perfect selfie may prove to be difficult and certainly unsafe. Run-of-the-mill SUVs, on the other hand, have been consistently improving their safety features. Of the cars U.S. News and World Report consider to be the 10 safest SUVs, many come standard with safety features such as rear view cameras, automatic emergency breaking, and rear cross traffic alerts. Since millennials are a generation highly interested in technology, it's likely that they'll be willing to spend the extra money on optional safety features as well. These can include lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning - all of which make for a safer vehicle. 

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For years, the buying habits and lifestyles of millennials suggested that they wouldn’t be buying SUVs to the same degree as their baby boomer parents. Baby boomers moved out to the suburbs and started having families in their early 20s. Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to live in urban areas and have shown less of a desire for marriage and children. As a result, millennials tend to use ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft as means of transportation, rather than purchasing a vehicle. Car manufacturers were right to be concerned by this lack of interest, as there are 80 million millennials in America, making them the largest generational group in the country. When it comes to the auto industry, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, millennials purchased only about 4 million cars and trucks in 2015, and are expected to have made up only 30% of new car sales in 2016. Millennials have enormous buying power, and if they weren't using that power to buy SUVs, it could be a huge loss for automakers.

There are a few factors that likely explain millennials' new desire for SUVs. One is that their lifestyles are starting to look more like those of baby boomers, no matter how much they try and deny that they're like their parents. While there is no exact definition of a millennial, the agreed upon age range is generally people born between 1980 and 2000. Since millennials are getting married and having children at older ages than previous generations did, this means they are just now reaching the time in their life when they need a bigger car to transport a family. As such, they are becoming more interested in the extra seating and cargo space that SUVs have to offer. Data from Ford shows that SUVs are most commonly purchased by people between the ages of 35 and 44, and millennials are just starting to hit that age range.

Another explanation for millennials' new interest in SUVs is the economy. Since the Great Recession has ended, it’s likely that millennials are just now starting to reach a point in their life when they have the resources to make a large purchase, such as an SUV and a house in the suburbs. 

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While millennial lifestyles are looking more like the life styles of baby boomers, according to Autoguide however, their actual car purchasing habits are still quite different. Millennials spend more time doing their own research before walking into a dealership, and the vast majority of that research is online. Millennials look up car ratings before going to the dealer just like they look up Yelp reviews before ordering takeout.

Millennials are clearly doing their research when it comes to car buying. This newfound interest in SUVs is great news for the automotive industry, who will welcome purchases of bigger cars and safety upgrades by millennials. It's also encouraging that millennials are just as interested in safety features as they are with selfies and custom playlists. However, no amount of research or high tech safety equipment can currently assure that accidents won’t happen. Whether driving an SUV or any other type of car, it’s important to be alert and to follow all traffic laws to minimize the risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Posting that car selfie would be pointless if you crashed the car that took it, right? 


Accidents can happen regardless of the type of car being driven and whatever advanced safety features the vehicle may have. If you have been involved in automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle collision lawsuits including those involving SUVs. 

Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

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Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
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In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

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There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

And The Winner For Most Googled Car In Michigan Is...

A recent analysis of the cars frequently Googled in every state discovered that the Lincoln MKC Compact SUV is the number one vehicle Googled in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. This may come as a surprise to some people, who may have expected a classic Ford or GM model to take the top spot.

Other states had less shocking number ones, such as California’s search for the Tesla 3 and New England’s desire to look up the Volvo XC90. The Buick Cascada, though it only sold 3,445 throughout the country, won over the states of Missouri and Indiana. In addition, the Buick Enclave SUV is No. 1 for North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, and Kentucky. These findings solidify Buick’s Midwest takeover, at least according to Google. Interestingly enough, a car that Hyundai no longer produces was the leader in two states; the Equus sedan was most searched in Maryland and Virginia. 

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The results of the analysis, done by auto care company Gold Eagle and marketing specialist Digital Third Coast, emphasize the shift in consumer buying patterns from cars to trucks, as a truck or SUV topped the list in 34 states. Still however, the Ford F-150 did not lead a single state, despite its status as America’s best selling vehicle, for longer than Google searches probably existed. Its larger relative, the Ford F-350, led Alaska and Montana, possibly suggesting that car consumers truly do believe bigger is better. 

Some people may have doubts about the link between financial success and number of web searches. They have good reason to; Honda, for example, one of the most distinguished automakers, sold 1.6 million vehicles in the US last year, but failed to gain the largest number of searches in any state. 

When buying a car, people like to stay informed about the newest models and safest features. Word of mouth is always a good way to hear about the most popular cars or the worst parts of driving this or that. But, you also can’t go wrong with good ol' Google. Most importantly, knowledge of one’s vehicle and driver safety are the ultimate steps for motor vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to take in order to help avoid a becoming involved in a car crash. 

If an online search engine can help keep motorists in the loop, it doesn't matter which car model is number one, as long as driver safety is the main priority.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a civil litigation firm that handles all types of accidents. Whether we're handling a car, truck, bicycle, bus, pedestrian, or horse accident, we work hard to ensure that our client receives any and all benefits they may be entitled to, under Michigan law. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a motor vehicle crash, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Chrysler Portal: A Concept Vehicle Made With Millennials In Mind

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They've popularized the selfie, revolutionized the uses for social media, and thrive off of constant action. Who are they? They are millennials of course!

Also known as Generation Y, millennials  are the youngest generation of adults, made up of people born from 1980-2000, who are currently coming in to their own in today's world. While most associations to millennials seem to be negative, for example, one big stereotype is that millennials are lazy and narcissistic, they are the future of the world and of the economy. Recently, however millennials have been labeled as “ruining the American economy,” since statistics have shown that millennials commute by car less than any other generation, thus raising concerns for the multi-billion dollar auto industry. 

To address this lack of millennial car consumer demand, Chrysler unveiled its all-electric Portal concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2017. Fiat Chrysler, CNN News reports, is said to have spent 20 years conducting research on these potential customers, understanding their behavior and greatest vehicle desires. There is little surprise that technology was found to be the main requirement millennials were looking for in their cars. With the constant connections and multi-tasking young people do nowadays, both at home and in the workplace, automakers are developing new products with a different crowd in mind.

Chrysler Portal Concept Car

Chrysler Portal's Millennial Inspired Vehicle Features

  1. Portal’s most touted feature involves something as millennial as it gets: selfies. The car is able to take a photo of all six passengers, and then send the image to everyone’s mobile device so it can be shared on social media, connected via plug-in ports.
  2. Another important aspect of Portal is its music, a valuable part of the driving experience for potential millennial customers. The car allows everyone in the vehicle to combine their songs and videos into one shared playlist to listen to while on the road. Portal’s stereo also has “zoned audio” that lets passengers listen to different audio in different parts of the car, without wearing headphones. This technology also can amplify certain external sounds for the driver, like the sound of sirens from an approaching ambulance.
  3. A display screen on the car’s ceiling lets the vehicle’s occupants access a shared playlist from the passengers’ mobile devices, along with putting together things like a drive-thru dinner order. Portal can even pay for the dinner order by linking payment information with the feature.
  4. Portal also has a fully customizable interior. Indoor LED accent lighting can be changed to any color, and car sears may be moved back and forth along tracks and even removed completely to create more storage space. 
  5. All-electric, Chrysler's proposed vehicle can drive up to 250 miles on a full charge. In fact, just 20 minutes of charging allows vehicle operators to drive 150 miles. Not only is this convenient, but it caters to millennials' environmentally friendly mindset. 
  6. While Portal still has a steering wheel and pedals, its limited self-driving capabilities keep the product current with autonomous car technology. The steering wheel is able to fold into the dashboard when not in use. 
  7. Perhaps most importantly to the busy, career driven young person, Chrysler’s millennial-focused vehicle uses cameras with facial recognition software mounted on the outside of the car to recognize people approaching the vehicle. That allows for custom interior and entertainment features to automatically be set up for the passengers before they even enter the vehicle. Portal sounds like it has everything a millennial could ever dream for!
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While automakers are busy working to develop new vehicles with millennial customers in mind, cities on the other hand, are continuing to expand public transportation and other alternative forms of getting around. This recent growth in alternative transportation including city bike share programs, like Detroit's own MoGo, is why Citylab predicts that millennials will rely less and less on cars. Additionally, people who have more money tend to drive more, and millennials just aren’t making much income right now.  Also, this age group cares more about their environmental impact than other generations, choosing other forms of transportation to get around in order to keep the planet clean.  

Chrysler seems to be on the right track in gearing their new motor vehicle concepts towards millennials. However, it is important to remember to focus on the road at all times, as fancy selfie features and multitasking audio systems may increase the chances of a car crash due to distracted driving. Millennials can call themselves the “cool” generation all they want, but new cars like the Portal must promote safety as well as tech savvy, because nothing is cool about causing a car crash.


By designing a vehicle tailored to millennial preferences and driving style, Chrysler's concept vehicle could become a hit among America's biggest generation. However, with the introduction of even more technology in the car, millennial drivers must remember to always keep their eyes on the road, no matter what angle the in-car selfie is snapping a photo from. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Electric Car Sales Reached Record High in 2016

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Today, environmental issues have become a primary concern in society. With many policymakers, activists, and corporations alike, all seeking to inspire a greater movement to sustain the Earth, it is not surprising that the “green movement” is beginning to impact certain industries, specifically the automotive industry. According to Greentech Media, the electric car market hit a record high last year in 2016 when 750,000 electric cars were sold. There are 2 million electric cars being driven in the world today, meaning that almost half of the world's electric cars were sold last year! Although 2 million only accounts for 2% of the market for small, passenger vehicles, it is a large feat for the industry that just began scratching the surface in 2010.

China has led the electric car market, competing directly with the Detroit, Michigan automakers. Of the 750,000 electric vehicles sold last year, China sold 336,000, with much credit due to BYD, a Chinese automaker that has dominated the electric vehicle (EV) market and was responsible for roughly 1/3rd of the country's EV sales. Yet, according to electrek, BYD has recently seen sales drop 34% in early 2017 due to the Chinese government reducing electric vehicle subsidies and incentives, which have been the main reason behind the market’s rapid growth.

After China, Europe sold the second highest amount of electric vehicles, accounting for 215,000. Norway saw the highest EV sales in Europe, selling about 62,000 vehicles. Other European countries that have contributed to sales include the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, and Sweden. The United States trailed China and Europe selling 160,000 vehicles last year.

Credit:  IEA

Credit: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is optimistic about future growth in the electric car market, projecting car sales between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and sales between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Since this is quite a leap from last year's three quarters of a million, many wonder if these numbers are attainable. The answer is that car sales are dependent on the green movement continuing to motivate consumers into seeking more environmentally friendly transportation, as well as automakers designing more practical and less expensive electric vehicles. 

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It's tough enough to buy a regular gasoline car without doing a ton of research, that it's even more difficult for some people to consider electric cars too. Until electric vehicles gain more popularity, the average person may not know enough about them to know how to purchase one of if it's the right vehicle for them. Below is a list of pros and cons provided by PluginCars to aid in decision making.

Cons of Electric Cars:

  1. Limited driving range. A main concern about EVs is that they have a limited driving range of about 80 to 100 miles before they need to recharge. This makes it difficult to take long trips with the car because charging stations may be many miles away and it takes hours to fully recharge.
  2. That leads to the next con, long charging time. However, the time it takes to charge an EV completely depends on the size of its battery. As a general measure for all EVs, 1 hour of charging can put about 20-25 miles back into the car.
  3. EVs are expensive. The average price for an EV is between $30,000 and $40,000, which is more expensive than a standard gas-powered vehicle of its size. However, most U.S. states offer incentives for purchasing electric cars, you can view the incentives by each state here.
  4. Minimal consumer choice. Many of the EV models look similar, and some people do not care for the typical design of an electric car. However, this has been an issue well-addressed by automakers and many new designs have been developed or are in the development process.

Pros of Electric Cars:

  1. They are quiet and quick. An EV delivers a much smoother and quieter ride, and electric cars possess more torque allowing the car to accelerate faster.
  2. EVs can be recharged at home. Electric cars can be easily charged in the confines of your home by simply plugging in the charger into an outlet and letting it charge overnight. In the morning it will be fully charged and ready to be driven.
  3. EVs are cheaper to drive. The cost per mile to fuel an electric vehicle is about 1/4th the cost of gasoline. Also, because the vehicle is electric, the only maintenance costs incurred are tire rotations and maintaining inflated tires.
  4. They do not produce carbon emissions. Of course, the largest benefit to electric vehicles is that they do not include a tailpipe that gives off harmful chemicals into the air, therefore they produce better air quality and benefit the environment.

 

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Clearly, there are both benefits and issues with electric cars, but with the ongoing movement to help sustain the environment, it is foreseeable that EV sales will continue to rise. Given the ongoing creation of new designs and longer lasting batteries from innovative companies such as Tesla, these vehicles are becoming more attractive and appealing to the consumer. It remains to be seen whether electric cars will take over the automotive industry in the future, but it is safe to say the market for electric vehicles will experience considerable growth in the upcoming years.


Electric vehicles are better for the environment and can help reduce our carbon footprint, however, they do not reduce the chance of getting into a car accident. If you or anyone you know has been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

2017 Michigan Vehicle Registration Increase

Michigan drivers who had a birthday between January to May, might have noticed a slight change in their vehicle registration fee. The increase was due to Governor Snyder signing a bill in November 2015 that is supposed to help raise funds to repair Michigan roadways. The bill didn’t only raise registration fees but gas taxes as well, from 19 cents to 26.3 cents on top of sales tax, and the bill forces hybrid car and electric vehicle owners to pay an additional fee on top of the 20% increase. (Electric vehicle owners have to pay $135 and hybrid vehicle owners pay $47.) The increase in both registration and gas fees is expected to collect $600 million that will be used for road and transportation purposes.

How Are The Funds Being Applied?

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It was discovered that all of the money raised by these increased fees and taxes isn’t going to the state's transportation fund. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy reported that the transportation budget will only have $160 million and not the $460 million dollars that was estimated to be collected this year. This begs the question, “Where are the rest of the funds?" 

Supposedly, the remaining $300 million is instead being spent on Medicaid and school funding. Legislators state that the reason for the switch was because in previous years of tax revenues, money earmarked for these other causes, was scraped to pay the transportation funding costs.

How Do Drivers Feel About The Tax Hike?

The increase in taxes might have come as a disappointment to many drivers who share the same sentiment as Flint resident Sabrina Smith, 24, who said, “They don’t do anything around here, we still have busted roads and we’re still going to have busted roads."

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As a counterpoint, Bob Johnston from Holland, Michigan disagreed with Ms. Smith's sentiment and said, “I absolutely understand the need for it. There’s a huge loss in economic development if we don’t have good roads and infrastructure. We need good roads.”  

So, there seems to be mixed feeling about the tax increase among the citizens of Michigan. However, Michiganders should remember that having an up-to-date vehicle registration is required in Michigan. Any driver who is concerned about how much they need to pay to register their vehicle can find the cost on the Michigan’s Secretary of State registration fee lookup tool. Michigan drivers should also keep in mind that the Trump Administration released a $1 trillion infrastructure plan on June 13, 2017 that might affect the current fees in place.

Though all of the money raised in the tax increase won't go toward infrastructure repair, Michiganders can still expect to see plenty of road rebuilding, bridge repairs, and other construction work this Summer. As such, it is important that motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians be extra cautious when traveling around construction sites as construction motor vehicle accidents are likely to occur. By keeping alert at construction sites, obeying construction traffic signs, and by driving more slowly and extra cautiously, construction site car accidents may be avoided.


Michigan motorists may have to redo going their budgets this year thanks to an increase in registration fees and fuel taxes. Although many drivers will hate the increase, it comes as a trade off to higher auto repair costs due to the crumbling infrastructure of Michigan roads. If you or someone you know have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to damaged roads or damaged infrastructure, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

The Impact of Autonomous Cars on the US Economy

There has been continuous buzz about self-driving cars over the past few years, with successful tests and disastrous accidents alike, being reported in the news. There is no doubt that such a ground-breaking invention will change transportation norms throughout the United States, just as Henry Ford’s automobiles forever changed the way to get around the country.

In fact, Wired reports autonomous vehicles are expected to add $7 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 35 years, based on data from Intel and research company Strategy Analytics. This is no small number, considering just robotic cars alone could add $2 trillion to the nation's economy by 2050, not even taking into account the current jobs and businesses that will be affected financially. To put these numbers into perspective, $1 trillion could buy about 40 million new cars, according to Kiplinger. But what makes up this enormous number?

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Self-Driving Cars and Jobs

Autonomous cars are predicted to positively influence the economy in the coming years, but their impact will be spread unevenly across sectors. Companies like Google and GM who have invested in making this technology a reality, will see the most money. Then, for the average Joe, the industries that will likely see a rise in job demands include data analysis, IT, and mechanics. Just like our smart phones and credit cards, autonomous cars collect data on a driver's habits, which in turn creates jobs for humans who need to sort and analyze this data. Intel reports jobs in information technology (IT), though they will see a shift from actual discovery of information to the management of machines finding information, will almost double in intensity. Additionally, the number of miles driven is expected to rise, increasing the need for cars, self-driving or otherwise, to be repaired by mechanics. 

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On the other hand, there will also be a decline in jobs, especially for people working in the service industries. Jobs like food delivery and taxi services may no longer be needed with the use of self-driving cars. This brings into effect the concept that Intel and Strategy Analytics call "The Passenger Economy," an idea which places economic and societal value on pilotless vehicles. Essentially, why hire humans to do a job that cars can do on their own? While they profit either way, this is a question that companies like Uber will have to face when replacing human drivers with company vehicles. 

It should also be noted that self-driving cars may create jobs that are still unknown. After all, with new technologies come new jobs the market previously did not anticipate. On the flip side, new technologies could also make jobs that currently exist obsolete. No matter which sectors see an increase or decline in job security, the fact remains that the American economy will still receive an estimated $7 trillion economic boost (or even even bigger-no one can put an exact number on the future!) Just like the Model-T helped restructure city spaces and bring the suburbs into existence, autonomous vehicles have the ability to transform job markets. There are endless possibilities for economic reform.

Autonomous Car Regulations

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Though all the glory of creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the economy sounds appealing, it does not happen without the technology meeting all safety standards first. Which is why, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not counting their chickens before their eggs hatch. The NHTSA has released the Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, a document which, "outlines best practices for the safe design, development and testing of automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads." Included in this document is a 15-point safety assessment that requires manufacturers to meet objectives such as operational design, post-crash response, privacy, and cybersecurity before their cars can go to market. Considering that 94% of automobile crashes are due to human error, there is definitely room for technology to advance driver safety. Hopefully, if all autonomous vehicle manufacturers can meet the standards set by the NHTSA, this will be a step in the right direction to saving lives. 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

What does all this mean for people who are willing to give up their spot behind the wheel and let the car drive itself? (That is a scary thought for a lot of people!) Well, most people want more proof that these cars won't crash and will safely deliver them to their destination before they surrender the wheel. That is why companies who create autonomous car technology need to be regulated to ensure absolute safety in their products and so that consumers are not just paying for the newest trend in transportation. Put simply, this technology needs to save lives and be safer than the transportation methods we already have. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute said to Consumer Reports that “there’s no way that we as a society would accept self-driving cars that cause the same number of fatalities as humans.” 

Autonomous Car Crash Lawyer

In 2015, there were roughly 35,000 traffic deaths in the United States. Future autonomous vehicles must allow for more safety if they are to replace human drivers. People also need to remember that transportation technology takes years of planning before it can be used in everyday lives, and that for now, only people can drive cars. Testing allows room for development and improvement, but overall “we expect machines to be better than us,” as Pratt said.

Until it's proven that autonomous vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles, humans need to be careful when driving on the road today. While we may one day be able to sleep while a car drives us around, we have to make sure that for now, we don't fall asleep behind the wheel! Sleepy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are bad human habits that can lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a car crash. By following the rules of the road and maintaining good driving habits, people can protect themselves from being involved in fatal car accidents. 

At the end of the day, it is impossible to plan the future or to predict how large of an impact autonomous vehicles will have on the economy or auto law. What we do know is that self-driving cars will add jobs, take away jobs, and, based on how well they are regulated, even save lives. 


Self-driving cars are growing closer to reality than we think due to the rapid development of technology. However, today, we still rely on people to drive vehicles, and as such, following the rules of the road is the best way to stay safe and to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been in involved in an auto accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.