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Grand Rapids Personal Injury Blog

Michigan is one of the deadliest states for winter driving

One of the dangers of being a resident of Michigan is having to deal with the brutal winters. Just how bad are the winters here, Michigan was recently ranked as the second most miserable state in the U.S. for its winter. One of the tragic results of living in a place that has such cruel winters is the horrific and even deadly outcomes of accidents out on our roads.

From 2011 to 2015 there were nearly 4,000 Americans who were killed while driving on the ice and snow during the winter months. Michigan once again came in second, this time for the highest amount of winter driving deaths, just behind Ohio.

Car accidents top cause of unintentional death in U.S.

Michigan readers may not be aware that unintentional injury is the top cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 44. These deaths happen in a number of ways, including through accidental poisonings, house fires and falls. However, car accidents claim the most lives by far.

Federal statistics show that over 32,000 people are killed in car crashes every year. In recent years, that number has been even higher. Studies show that most motor vehicle accidents are related to human error. This means that most victims die in preventable accidents caused by drunk, distracted or reckless drivers. Some victims also die because of their own choice not to wear a seat belt. Luckily, there are several simple things drivers and passengers can do to reduce their risk of becoming a government statistic.

M-91 head-on collision in Turk Lake kills kindergarten teacher

Information provided by the Michigan State Police at the Lakeview Post indicated that a 2007 Chevy Silverado crossed the center line on Michigan Highway 91 and caused a fatal head-on collision with a 2016 GMC Yukon. The Montcalm Township fire chief confirmed that the crash took place near the Turk Lake Restaurant & Bar. The 53-year-old woman driving the Yukon died. Bystanders removed her 19-month-old granddaughter from a car seat in the vehicle's back seat. The girl is expected to recover from her minor injuries.

The fire chief was well acquainted with the female victim and dismayed to see her condition when he arrived at the scene of the accident. Emergency personnel transported the woman to Spectrum Health United Hospital, where she was declared dead. The woman lived in Six Lakes and was a cherished kindergarten teacher in Howard City. Students that she taught earlier in her career were known to request her as the teacher for their children.

2017 saw 9 percent rise in large truck traffic fatalities

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has revealed that the number of large truck roadway fatalities went up 9 percent from 2016 to 2017. This is in spite of the fact that the number of vehicle deaths went down 1.8 percent during the same period. Michigan residents, especially those who work in the trucking industry, will want to pay attention to the details of these statistics.

The NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows that 37,133 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2017; that was 673 fewer deaths than in 2016. As for those killed in large truck crashes (with "large" being defined as having a gross vehicle weight rating higher than 10,000 pounds), fatalities went up from 4,369 to 4,761.

2 killed in Isabella County crash

On Sept. 17, two people were killed in a two-car collision in Michigan. The accident occurred in Isabella County. According to the Isabella County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched to the scene of a crash at the intersection of Leaton Road and Pere Marquette Rail-Trail. Once on the scene, they discovered that a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer had failed to stop at a stop sign and smashed into a 2014 Ford Fusion.

The occupants of the Ford, an 81-year-old man and an 83-year-old woman, both Sanford residents, died in the impact. The driver of the Chevy, a woman from Clare, and her unidentified passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Police investigation into deadly Michigan crash continues

Police say that they have yet to determine what cause a motor vehicle accident on the afternoon of Sept. 2 that claimed the life of a Michigan State University assistant professor. The 37-year-old man was killed when his car was struck at a high rate of speed by a motor home as it waited at a stop sign on South Bagley Road in Greenbush Township.

Accident investigators believe that the motor home may have experienced a tire blowout or some other sort of mechanical failure in the moments before the collision. An eyewitness told reporters that he saw the vehicle 'lose a tire" before crashing. Excessive speed may have also played a role as the witness also describes seeing the motor home leave the ground completely before striking the professor's car.

Research could help spinal cord patients regain function

There may be some signs of hope for Michigan residents with spinal cord problems. Scientists from Boston Children's Hospital are working on a way to help paralyzed patients regain the ability to walk. Their research study examines ways to revitalize undamaged nerve pathways in the spinal cord.

Paralysis occurs when the neurons in the spinal cord become severed and are no longer able to transmit movement commands from the brain. However, most spinal cord patients only suffer partial nerve damage, meaning some neural pathways remain intact. Despite this, around 50 percent of patients suffer total paralysis and the loss of sensation. For the study, researchers set out to determine why this occurs and if it could be remedied.

What can be done after the wrongful death of a loved one

It is an unfortunate reality that there is an element of danger every time you get behind the wheel. The average person suffers an auto accident every 10 years. This may seem high, but remember that even the safest, most attentive driver can’t account for another motorist causing a wreck.

Some of the most traumatic accidents that happen on the roadways are crashes involving commercial tractor trailers. The power, size and cargo these vehicles carry make even minor collisions powerful forces that could cost people their lives.

Drowsy driving is similar to impaired driving

The American Sleep Foundation states that almost half the adult drivers in Michigan and the rest of the United States confess to repeatedly driving while feeling sleepy. Almost 20 percent of the drivers surveyed admitted that during some time in the last year, they fell asleep while driving. Forty percent of the drivers stated that they experienced falling asleep behind the wheel more than once since they began driving.

Many drivers may be unaware that drowsy driving is a hazard that places themselves and others on the road in danger. According to a report issue by the Governors Highway Safety Association, it is estimated that 5,000 people lost their lives in 2015 due to motor vehicle crashes caused in some part by drowsy driving.

Fleet operators are using technology to combat distracted driving

The worrying increase in distracted driving accidents is often blamed on smartphones and sophisticated automobile entertainment, navigation and information systems. However, many drivers crash each year in Michigan and around the country from just letting their minds wander. The problem is an especially thorny one for the freight moving sector because accidents involving semi-tractor trailers are usually serious. Furthermore, the pressure that truck drivers work under often leaves them fatigued and prone to distraction.

The fleet management company Omnitracs has taken steps to address the problem by adding a module to its web-based Driver Center that is designed to warn truck drivers and fleet operators about potential distracted driving situations. Alerts are sent out when drivers spend hours in heavy traffic or begin their shifts at unusual times or after only brief periods of rest. The feature keeps track of how long commercial vehicle drivers spend behind the wheel by accessing their hours of service data.

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