INDIANAPOLIS (December 30, 2009) - 2009 traffic fatalities in Indiana are on pace to be the lowest recorded since 1925. Preliminary statistics through December 28 show 680 highway fatalities, compared to 814 for the same period in 2008, according to Indiana State Police (ISP). That is a more than 16 percent reduction.
Since 2004, when there were 947 fatalities, there has been a 28 percent drop in roadway deaths. 2009 will be the first year in which ISP issued more than one million traffic arrests and written warnings.
"Hundreds more Hoosiers are alive to welcome 2010 because of the ISP and a comprehensive effort at safety enforcement," said Governor Mitch Daniels. "Let's have a safe New Year's Eve and finish this record year in style."
The last time Indiana recorded less than 700 fatalities for a single year was 1925, when the total was 670, according to records maintained by the state Department of Health. In 1925, 711,364 vehicles were registered in the state; the fatality to vehicle rate was 1 to 1,062. There are eight times as many vehicles (5,676,076) registered in Indiana now, and the fatality to vehicle rate is 1 to 8,347.
Hoosiers drove approximately the same number of miles this year as in 2008, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). In recent years, Indiana has enacted tougher seat belt laws, 250 more state troopers are on Indiana's highways and they are stopping more motorists for safety violations, and Indiana is taking a tough approach toward impaired driving. For example:
- State police have made Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests a priority, and arrests are up 54 percent since 2004. There have been nearly 2,300 more arrests for DWI in 2009 than a year ago (6,500 in 2008 to 8,785 through November 30).
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Indiana had the fifth lowest percentage of alcohol related fatalities in the nation, 26 percent, for 2008. The national average for alcohol related fatalities was 32 percent (.08 percent blood alcohol content or greater).
- ISP is near one million traffic enforcement actions (traffic arrests plus written warnings) for the current year. A year ago, the total was 940,000.
- ISP's goal is to reduce fatal crashes by prioritizing locations that statistically have the highest crash rates and focusing on violations that are known crash causation factors, such as following too closely, failure to yield, unsafe lane movement, speed and driving too fast for road or weather conditions.
- Indiana's overall observed seat belt usage rate climbed to record use of 92.6 percent in 2009, according to ICJI. This is an eight-point increase over the past four years and means that 529,000 more Hoosier motorists are using seat belts. In 2008, 44 percent of individuals who were killed in car crashes where restraint usage was known, were unrestrained.
- The Indiana Department of Transportation installed 150 miles of new cable safety barriers within interstate medians in 2009. In the two years following test installation along 35 miles of I-65 and I-69 north of Indianapolis, the median cable barrier was struck 156 times but no vehicles crossed into oncoming traffic. Fatality comparisons before and after cable barrier installation is not yet available
"Although Hoosiers are buckling up in record numbers, we can do better to continue to reduce traffic fatalities," ISP Superintendent Paul Whitesell said. "Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing you can do to survive a crash."
Motorcycle and moped fatalities also decreased by 19 to 114 in 2009, a 14 percent decrease, according to ISP.
Historical data about Indiana traffic fatalities may be found at this link: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/123009_Motor_Vehicle_Deaths_Data.pdf
Audio from today can be found at this link:
« Back to News Release List
Link to this event: