Rise in 'preventable' traffic crashes leading to spike in serious injuries

Traffic injuries are up in the state of Michigan this year and there's no secret why - speed, distracted driving, traveling too close.

"You don't have to be a trooper, or a police officer to drive around Metro Detroit and probably on your trip you will see all three of those," said Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Mike Shaw.

And Michigan State Police report since just last week, 26 people have died on Michigan roads - bringing the total to nearly 650 deaths this year.

This year there have been 23 fewer deaths - but 137 more people have been seriously injured in crashes.

Last weekend along, two Oakland County Sheriff's deputies were protecting a tow truck along M-59 when they were hit by a driver not paying attention.

Both vehicles were mangled after the crash - and the driver lost his life. The two deputies were hospitalized, one suffering serious injuries.

"He was so traumatically hit that they opted just to quickly load him in a patrol car because of the bleeding and the injury,"  said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

In a recent horrific accident in Clinton Township, witness video shows a bystander breaking a window of a crashed vehicle to try and help a mom and her young daughter.

It seems like daily there are reports on tragic crashes - many of them fatal or resulting in serious injury

"There’s a lack of respect for other human beings right now," Shaw said. "The saddest part about this is all these crashes are preventable."

The Michigan Department of Transportation says last year, just in work zones there were 4,300 crashes in the state, Sixteen people died.

Bill Erbin of MDOT has witnessed some close calls.

"They were doing their job they had their backs to traffic," he said. "They were in the tool trailer and the vehicle came over and hit them. So, just trying to make a living, just trying to rebuild the roads. So, totally innocent and then somebody not paying attention, hit both of them."

The point is, the law dictates we have to stay off our phones when we’re driving and if you see crews out working - move over…

"It’s upsetting, it’s unnecessary, it’s awful," said Diane Cross, MDOT.