According to a study done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (Go Blue!), the U.S. ranks pretty poorly when it comes to road safety. However, in our defense, the primary cause for our less-than-stellar track record is the sheer number of Americans on the road. The study revealed that between 2006 and 2010, the average American driver drove about 10,000 miles. That’s significant, especially when compared with drivers in other first world nations.
The result, of course, is that with so many more drivers on the roads, the number of car crashes, road fatalities and drunk driving incidents are considerably higher. But what about the individual states? When compared side-by-side in The State of Safety report, which was released by the National Safety Council (NSC), it turns out that there is a distinct difference in the numbers.
So, you’re probably wondering where Michigan ranks on that list. Well, the good news is that we didn’t make the bottom ten. Unfortunately however, we didn’t make the top ten either. The NSC uses a grading system to rank states based on their laws and policies pertaining to key safety issues for residents. Although the State of Safety report deals with preventable deaths in all areas of life, one of those main areas is on the road. So issues that affect our rank would include seat belt use, speeding, child passengers and drunk driving.
Interestingly, not a single state got an “A”, which either means that we’re all not doing enough to keep the roads safer, or the standards of safety are a little out of touch with reality. Either way, there were a total of eleven states that received a “B” grade, and a rather surprisingly, the exact same number who got an “F.” So where does Michigan rank on this scale?
Michigan got a “C”, which counts as a passing grade.
But certainly not one that opens doors and greases wheels, as it were. On our road safety report, Michigan was ranked as 24 out of 50 states, putting us slap in the middle of the pack. Not bad, but not good either. So what areas does the NSC think we could do better in, and where are we already doing well?
According to the report, things The Great Lakes State is doing well would be our total ban on cell phone use by teen drivers, our law covering children left in hot cars, and the fact that seatbelts are mandatory. In the drunk driving category, the only thing we are apparently doing right is our open container ban for drivers & passengers. Every other category however, we lose points.
According to the NSC’s report, Michigan lost points for not having a state sobriety checkpoint program. We also lost points for not requiring ignition interlock devices for all first-time drunk drivers, and for not making 90 day license revocations mandatory for anyone whose BAC tests above .08 and anyone who refuses the roadside breath test.
NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman says that the state of safety in America is perilous. “We cannot afford to sit back while we lose more than 140,000 people (every year) because of issues we know how to prevent.” However, just because we know how to prevent something, doesn’t mean that the methods suggested here are the right ones.
At The Kronzek Firm, we know that harsher sentences and stricter laws may look good on paper, but they don’t address the real issues. Michigan’s growing body of sobriety courts has made a measurable difference in many communities around our state, offering people another chance at life, and hope for a future. Throwing people in prison every time they make a mistake or struggle with substance abuse doesn’t solve problems. Offering people a chance to redeem themselves will always be the better option! Our drunk driving defense team can be reached at 1 800-576-6035.