The number of traffic fatalities on roads under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has trended downward over the past three years, including a nearly 20 percent decline in from 2017 to 2018.
For calendar year 2018, there were 23 fatalities on RCOC roads. This is fewer fatalities than any of the previous three years and well below the average number of fatalities for the last 18 years. Of the 23 fatalities, eight were alcohol and/or drug-related.
The lowest number of fatalities in recent years was 2013 when 14 traffic-related deaths were reported. Additionally, the traffic-fatality rate in Oakland County has remained approximately half the statewide and national rates for several decades.
“Safety remains the top priority for RCOC,” stated RCOC Chairman Greg Jamian. “Throughout the years, the focus on safety has guided many RCOC decisions related to road project selection, design and maintenance,” he added.
Jamian noted RCOC has consistently been on the cutting edge of traffic-safety innovations such as:
- Annual safety reviews of 50 intersections and road segments with the highest crash rates to determine what can be done to improve safety (including the use of customized software to analyze crash data).
- Modern roundabouts – RCOC has the highest concentration of roundabouts in Michigan. These circular intersections have been shown to dramatically reduce traffic fatalities and serious-injury accidents. No fatalities have occurred in RCOC’s 25 roundabouts since the first one was built in 1999.
- Wider white edge lines (widened from four inches to six inches to improve visibility and durability).
- Paved shoulders which help prevent “run off” accidents when cars inadvertently swerve off the road – without paved shoulders it is far more likely the cars will lose control.
- Numerous technology innovations, such as:
- Operating one of the largest systems of high-tech “adaptive” traffic signals in the nation (signals that detect the number of vehicles present in each direction and automatically adjust signal timing in real time to best meet the traffic needs at that moment),
- Being among the first agencies to adapt LED bulbs in traffic signals,
- Continued work with the Federal Highway Administration and the auto industry on “connected vehicles” that will allow cars to “talk” to road infrastructure, etc.
- Road project safety audits, in which a cross-disciplinary RCOC team studies proposed projects to ensure all safety concerns are addressed.
- Pavement rumble strips that alert motorists when they travel out of their lanes.
- Detailed winter-maintenance guidelines that spell out how many snowplows/salt trucks should be used in every type of situation and when they should be deployed.
- And much, much more.
“For everything we do, we are continuously considering ways to improve safety. We take safety very seriously, and motorists can join the effort by eliminating driving distractions such as cell phones,” Jamian said.
Here are the number of fatalities reported on RCOC for each year since 2001:
2001: 35 2010: 25
2002: 38 2011: 36
2003: 29 2012: 23
2004: 34 2013: 14
2005: 41 2014: 18
2006: 33 2015: 30
2007: 25 2016: 39
2008: 20 2017: 29
2009: 19 2018: 23