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Traffic deaths rise in Michigan. Is the economy to blame?

Michigan saw an increase in the number of traffic deaths in 2010.  It was the first increase in 7 years. 

According to a new report, 936 people died on Michigan roads last year.   That’s an 8% increase over 2009.

Traffic fatalities have been declining in Michigan since the early 2000’s when more than a thousand people were dying each year in car crashes. 

Ann Readette is in the Office of Highway Safety Planning.  She says an improving economy might be partly to blame for the rise in fatal crashes. 

“Over time you can look at that and look at what’s happened with the economy in terms of recessions…and see there’s definitely a correlation in what’s going on.”

While traffic fatalities rose last year, the number of traffic accidents and serious injury crashes declined in Michigan in 2010.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.