By Mike Kruzman /

Traffic crashes in and around Livingston County are down, but the severity of those crashes is higher, according to a recent study from the Southeast Council of Michigan Governments.

SEMCOG has released its Traffic Crash Study for 2020, covering its seven-county region.

The study found that the number of traffic crashes was at a decade low, however stay-at-home orders early in the pandemic could have easily contributed to that. At the height of the order, April 2020, vehicle traffic was 75% lighter than it was two months earlier. However, traffic fatalities increased to a 10-year high. The 452 fatalities were 88 more than there were in 2019, despite there being 35,000 fewer accidents.

SEMCOG identifies multiple factors that could have contributed to this, including speeding, disregard for traffic controls, driver impairment, and decreased seatbelt and helmet use. Helmet use for motorcyclists involved in crashes continues to decrease and is 35-points lower than when the state changed its helmet law in 2012.

A deeper look at the study, which also includes reports on crashes involving older drivers, younger drivers, impaired drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians can be found through the link below, or at