EDITORIAL by David Gordon

The Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) this spring cut down about 300 trees (45 were “Landmark Status”) along N. Territorial Road between Gottfredson and Spencer Roads claiming that it improves safety.   The cost for this: $111,000.

Before the “safety” project, your odds of dying were about the same as becoming President. 10,000,000 to 1.  

One person died in a car/tree crash along this stretch of road (2010-2014), according to county records, and there were 10,220,000 car trips during that five-year timeframe.

Maybe your odds are better now. Hard to say. But let’s speculate that you’re odds improved a bit so now you’re about as likely to die in a car/tree crash along that stretch of road as you are of being attacked by a shark.   (Though there have been no reports on sharks on N. Territorial in quite some time. ;-)

After reading the information below, you might want to contact the WCRC and share some of your thoughts. Their contact info is below.


What are the Odds?

  • Odds of being diagnosed with cancer — 1 in 2 for men, 1 in 3 for women
  • Odds of being a victim of a serious crime — 1 in 47 for men, 1 in 52 for women
  • Odds of being called “Come on down!” on The Price is Right — 1 in 36
  • Odds of being audited by the IRS — 1 in 100
  • Odds of dying in a car accident — 1 in 113
  •             
  • These odds, provided by the National Safety Council, are pretty scary. If you text while driving, you increase your chances by six times — the same as driving after four beers.
  • Odds of being drafted by the NBA — 1 in 6,864,000
  • Odds of being struck and killed by lightning — 1 in 174,426
  • Odds of becoming President of the U.S. — 1 in 10 million
  • Odds of getting attacked by a shark — 1 in 11.5 million
  • - from 21 Shocking Statistics, Including the likelihood of a big lotto win

The Road Commission has put on hold Phase 2 of this project which called for another $$665,274 to remove hundreds more trees while they “review their policies and procedures”.

To reach your three County Road Commissioners:


 

“Insurance Institute for Highway Safety”

Car/Tree Crash Data & Conclusions

 

             About 20 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths result from a vehicle leaving the roadway and hitting a fixed object alongside the road. Trees, utility poles, and traffic barriers are the most common objects struck. Almost half of the deaths in fixed object crashes occur at night. Alcohol is a frequent contributing factor. 

TRENDS:        

             A total of 7,964 people died in fixed-object crashes in 2016, 3 percent more than in 2015 and 25 percent fewer than in 1979. The proportion of motor vehicle crash deaths involving collisions with fixed objects has remained between 19 and 23 percent since 1979.

                   

             Trees are the most common fixed object struck. Forty-eight percent of deaths in fixed object crashes in 2016 involved a vehicle striking a tree. Utility poles and traffic barriers were the next most common objects struck, accounting for 11 and 8 percent of deaths, respectively. Twenty-seven percent of drivers killed in fixed-object crashes in 2016 were males younger than 30. Overall, males accounted for 81 percent of drivers killed in these crashes.

ALCOHOL:     

             Thirty-nine percent of drivers killed in fixed-object crashes in 2016 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent. By comparison, 23 percent of drivers killed in other types of fatal crashes had BACs this high. The percentage of drivers killed in fixed-object crashes with BACs at or above 0.08 percent declined from 66 percent in 1982 to 39 percent in 2016, a reduction of 41 percent.

AGE & GENDER:       

             Twenty-seven percent of drivers killed in fixed-object crashes in 2016 were males younger than 30. Overall, males accounted for 81 percent of drivers killed in these crashes.

                   

WHEN & WHERE CRASHES OCCUR:

             Sixteen percent of deaths in fixed-object crashes in 2016 occurred on interstates and freeways, 52 percent occurred on other major roads, and 27 percent occurred on minor roads.

                   

             Forty-four percent of deaths in fixed-object crashes in 2016 occurred at night (9 p.m.-6 a.m.), with the highest proportions occurring between midnight and 3 a.m. (18 percent) and between 9 p.m. and midnight (14  percent).

COLLISIONS WITH ANIMALS:

             From 1975 to the mid-2000s there was a general upward trend in deaths from collisions with animals, but this trend has leveled off in the past few years. These deaths increased from 89 in 1975 to 223 in 2007 and then declined to 189 in 2016. In 2016, deaths in collisions with animals occurred most often during July-September.