New data shows ‘huge uptick' in distracted driving crashes in Oakland County

Oakland County is reporting for the first time data regarding crashes involving distracted driving.

“We know it’s a huge uptick just never really had any stats about it before,” said MSP Lt. Mike Shaw.

It’s a relatively new problem that likely will get worse before it gets better.

“Look at the road and look at the cars around you. Don’t look at your phone while you’re driving. This is a huge safety issue,” said Craig Bryson with the Road Commission of Oakland County.

Now Oakland County has the numbers to back it up.

“This is the first time that police reports have been required to list this as one potential cause of crashes,” Bryson said.

And because of that, there is now a baseline to see just how bad the problem is. 

“We all see people on their phones everyday. I had no idea it would be this high for a relatively short period of time,” Bryson said.

From mid 2016 to the end of 2017, there were 2,500 distracted driving crashes in Oakland County.

“Seven fatalities that were attributed to distracted driving during that same time period on our roads,” Bryson said.

Some of the worst areas happen to be the busiest roads in the county, including Big Beaver, 12 Mile, Crooks, Orchard Lake and 10 Mile, Bryson said.

Shaw said during Operation Ghost Rider, MSP stopped between 800-900 cars for distracted driving within a three day period. He says they’ve also seen an uptick in pedestrian crashes because their faces are in a phone.

If there is a silver living, MSP says fatal crashes in Michigan are declining overall. But police say it has less to do with better driving and more to do with better-made cars.