Normally, the Fourth of July weekend is filled with a high number of auto accidents. More people take to the roads to enjoy a little extra free time (and perhaps some alcoholic beverages), resulting in a higher likelihood of fatal crashes. Over the last two years, however, Michigan‘s highways have been safer than ever over the holiday weekend.

Since the Michigan State Police began tracking the statistic in 1972, the two-year period from 2009-2010 has featured the fewest fatal crashes on record over the 4th of July weekend. State police officials attribute the decrease to seat belt use. Since instituting its enhanced seat belt law in 2000, Michigan has led the nation in safety belt use.

The news is not all positive, unfortunately. Fatal motorcycle accidents are becoming more common. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a reason, it could be that more people are using motorcycles to save on gas.