Fewer people are on the roads in Michigan, but traffic fatalities are up in the state

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("Michigan State Police cars -- door seal on 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury" by Joe Ross, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Traffic fatalities are on the rise this year in Michigan, despite the fact that there are fewer vehicles on roads in the state thanks to the pandemic.

According to data updated last week by the Michigan State Police, 897 people died in fatal car crashes between January 1 and November 29 of this year. That’s 55 more than during the same period in 2019, an increase of 7%.

The higher number accompanies a sharp reduction in traffic in 2020 that takes into account people traveling less, and working from home. Daily traffic is down more than 18% across Michigan.

Traffic safety experts say an increase in speeds due to less congestion on the roads could be to blame. Troopers have cited twice as many speeders this year, compared to 2019.

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