Accidents down, injuries up in 2021 | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle Trooper Michigan State Police-Alpena Post’s Justin Clark from a vantage point on M-32 in Alpena points Tuesday to an intersection where drivers often don’t obey road safety laws.

ALPENA — Fewer vehicles in northeast Michigan crashed last year than in years past, but those crashes caused more injuries than usual, according to state figures.

Not counting the freak traffic year of 2020 — when pandemic warrants kept many drivers at home — police reported fewer area crashes in 2021 than any year since 2012, the data shows. recently released by the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center.

But these accidents resulted in more injuries.

Of the 820 crashes in Alpena County last year, 167 resulted in injuries, compared to an average of 114 crashes with injuries per year between 2015 and 2019.

The region reported 284 injury crashes last year, despite only 2,206 reported crashes, compared to an average of around 2,400 crashes per year since 2013, not including 2020.

Check out the interactive chart below. The story continues below the graph.

In Michigan, more than 1,100 road deaths in 2021 marked the highest number of road deaths in Michigan since 2005, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Four people died in northeast Michigan crashes in 2021, including three in Près Isle County and one in Alpena County.

The state also saw an increase in crash-related injuries compared to 2020, but the state’s injury rate did not show the same increase as northeast Michigan.

Some of Alpena County’s crashes last year stemmed from a detour through town bypassing reconstruction of the Bagley Street Bridge, said Sgt. Michigan State Police-Alpena Post’s Rich Tucker.

Drivers impatient with the detour and the resulting long queues at some intersections sometimes turn on yellow lights, trying to avoid a wait, Tucker said.

“They’re taking the risk that someone isn’t on the accelerator,” Tucker said. “That’s how accidents happen.”

Police are observing drivers distracted by electronics, particularly at the intersection of Bagley Street and M-32 in Alpena, an intersection notorious among police for accidents, Tucker said.

Between 2015 and 2020, the most recent year for which intersection-specific data is available, police reported 90 crashes at that intersection, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

A nearby intersection, at the entrance to Alpena’s Home Depot store, was the site of 21 crashes during the same period.

MSP soldiers conduct targeted traffic patrols on random days on the M-32 corridor, primarily in the business district statistical hotspot west of Bagley.

For two to four hours at a stretch, about once a week, police make themselves visible in the area and search for people to arrest for violations, Trooper Justin Clark told the Alpena Post.

From a vantage point in a commercial driveway along the M-32, he watches surrounding intersections and occasionally sees people blatantly violating road safety laws even though they know he is there, a said Clark.

“They look at you and just think, ‘He’s not going to stop me,'” the soldier said.

He stops them when he can, hoping to stop accidents before they happen, Clark said.

Check out the interactive chart below. The story continues below the graph.

Dangerous intersections

Number of crashes at selected Alpena intersections between 2015 and 2020. More crash data can be found at

Bagley Street and M-32: 90

Chisholm St and Long Rapids Rd: 49

Ripley Boulevard and Washington Avenue: 41

Chisholm Street and 2nd Avenue: 31

Chisholm Street and 11th Avenue: 31

Chisholm Street and 9th Avenue: 30

Ripley Boulevard and State Avenue: 23

Golf Course Road and US-23 North: 20

Source: Michigan Highway Safety Planning Office

Accidents in figures

Northeast Michigan crashes and crashes with injuries in 2021.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

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