Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski, Brad Rateike
Phone: 317/232-1622, 317/232-1800

For Immediate Release: Dec 29, 2006
Indiana traffic-related fatalities on decline in 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (December 29, 2006) - Preliminary statistics show that the number of fatalities on Indiana's roadways this year has dropped significantly from 2005, according to data from the Indiana State Police (ISP). Through December 22, there have been 81 fewer fatalities compared to the same period in 2005.

"Causality is complex, but a nearly 10 percent drop is probably more than good luck. Motorists should know we're going to keep adding troopers to the road, because every fatality is a tragedy. We've had a better year, but let's close the year safely," said Governor Mitch Daniels.

Through December 22, Indiana law enforcement agencies reported 845 fatalities on Indiana's roadways. For the comparable period a year ago, there were 926. According to state police, there have been 75 fewer crashes on Indiana roadways through December 22 of this year compared to the same period a year ago (769 through Dec. 22, 2006; 844 for same period of 2005).

Among efforts employed to make Indiana's roads safer this year are rigorous enforcement, public education programs, roadway safety improvements, and additional selected funding for traffic safety initiatives.

For example, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) targeted seat belt and alcohol issues in specific high fatality counties. As a result, 37 Indiana counties in which 70 percent of the state's traffic fatalities occurred in the last three years were identified as eligible for special grants. Of those counties, 10 applied for and received additional funding for targeted and data-driven enforcement efforts.

From October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006, those 10 counties had an average reduction in fatalities of 8.3 percent, compared to less than a half percent reduction in fatalities for those counties that did not receive additional funding. The 10 targeted counties had 83 fewer fatalities as of November 1, 2006, compared to the same time period in 2005.

Indiana State Police (ISP) have used data from crash reports to focus enforcement efforts where they are needed most, concentrating on areas where there have been increases in serious injury and fatal crashes. ISP also has used more troopers on patrol and increased the number of marked squad cars on roadways in 2006.

"Indiana troopers have increased enforcement activity significantly over the last year. We've made strides in reducing vehicle crashes across Indiana, but there is more to do," said ISP Superintendent Paul Whitesell.

Here are other Indiana efforts aimed at reducing traffic accidents:

  • The ICJI awarded grants to enable local law enforcement agencies to fund overtime enforcement. The result was 10,545 DUI related citations, 90,347 seat belt citations, 18,466 speeding citations, and 4,448 child restraint citations from October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006.
  • Local law enforcement agencies working overtime traffic safety enforcement in 2006 have written 19,748 more citations this year for such offenses as speeding and drunk driving.
  • Installation of cable barriers, such as the median guide rails in Boone County on Interstate 65, has limited the amount of fatal cross-over collisions on sections of roadway.
  • Public education campaigns continue to increase awareness of seat belt use. According to the ICJI, seat belt use has increased 3.1 percent from 2005, which translates to an all-time high of 84.3 percent usage. Seat belt usage among passenger car occupants was observed at 91.4 percent. For pickup trucks, the rate was 54.4 percent.