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Beverly Hills, MI — Once again in 2020, Oakland County saw a substantially lower traffic-fatality rate on its roads than either the state or national rates.
The county, state and national fatality rates were recently released for 2020. For the year, Oakland County’s fatality rate remained less than half of both the statewide rate and the national rate.
In fact, Oakland County has had the lowest, or among the lowest, traffic-fatality rates in the state nearly every year for decades. In part that is the result of the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) making safety its top priority since the 1970s. Since that time, the agency has been a national leader in traffic safety and one of the first and most aggressive users of traffic-crash data to drive traffic-safety improvements.
For 2020, Oakland County’s traffic-fatality rate was 0.64 deaths per 100 million miles of vehicle travel. For the year, the statewide rate was 1.37 fatalities per 100 million miles of vehicle travel and the national rate was 1.49.
“Despite the pandemic, we have remained focused on safety on our roads,” stated Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “Safety is our number-one priority, and while we are always striving to reduce the number of crashes, and even one fatality is too many, it is still heartening to see that our roads remain very safe compared to others across the state and nation. That is the result, in part, of all the hard work done by everyone at RCOC.”
Unlike many parts of the country, the number of traffic fatalities in Oakland County dropped from 2019 to 2020. However, the fatality rate increased slightly, because traffic volumes dropped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation.
“While our fatality rate increased slightly for 2020 because the traffic volumes were down everywhere,” Kolar explained, “our actual drop in the number of traffic fatalities contrasts with many areas of the country that saw increased traffic fatalities despite the traffic drop.”
Kolar added that RCOC’s safety efforts are paying off. “Virtually everything we do is driven by an interest in safety,” he said, “whether it is how we select the projects we do each year, how we design those projects, how we prioritize our road maintenance activities, etc.
“Every RCOC employee contributes, in one way or another, to helping to keep our roads safe. These numbers confirm that what we are doing is making a difference.”
In fact, if Oakland’s roads experienced the same fatality rate as the national rate, another 60 to 70 people would die on our roads every year. “That’s a huge deal,” Kolar said. That’s 60 to 70 families every year that do not have to bury a loved one.”
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