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Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention

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In 2016, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S.1 Furthermore, more than half of teens and adults aged 13-44 years who died in crashes in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the crash.2 Motor vehicle injuries are preventable when appropriate precautions are taken and passengers understand the safest ways to commute on the road. Learn more about effective interventions for decreasing motor vehicle injuries below.



According to Indiana Traffic Law under IC 9-19-11-2, children ages 8-16 are required to ride properly restrained in a child restraint system or seat belt.3 This law applies to all seating positions in all vehicles. It is important to properly secure children in safety seats to keep them safe. To prevent child passenger injuries, IDOH provides funding for statewide Booster Bashes—event that offer free car seats and education for parents about proper car seat fittings. The funding also covers scholarships for injury prevention workers to become certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Additional resources provided by IDOH are listed below.

IDOH Child Passenger Safety Technician

To become a Child Passenger Safety Technician, visit the Safe Kids website. IDOH offers a scholarship to cover the costs of the training where recipients can be reimbursed up to $250 for taking the 3- to 4-day training. For the scholarship application, please see the forms below:

Host a Booster Bash in your county! The Booster Bash Toolkit is a resource to help you plan and hold a successful event. The information inside serves as a guide to a Booster Bash and can be adapted to serve your community’s needs.


Indiana has certain child seat requirements; the criteria is listed below:


Heatstroke Prevention

Vehicle heatstroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle causing the child’s body temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner. It is vitally important to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults.

Prevention Tips

LOOK before you LOCK. Make it a habit to look inside the car before you lock it, and try these tips to avoid putting children at risk of heatstroke.

TAKE ACTION if you notice a child alone in a car! Protecting children is everyone’s business—learn what to do if you see a child alone in a car.


Latest Research


More than 2,400 teens lost their lives in a car crash in 2016.4 That is approximately six teens lost a day. The main cause? Driver inexperience.

CDC’s Parents Are the Key campaign helps parents, pediatricians and communities keep teen drivers safe on the road.



There were 37,461 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2016, of which 23,714 (63%) were occupants of passenger vehicles.5 Occupant safety focuses on seat belt use, car seat safety and frontal air bags.



Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at age 70 – 74 and are highest among drivers 85 and older. The increased fatal crash risk among older drivers is largely due to their increased susceptibility to injury, particularly chest injuries, and medical complications, rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.6


How do older adult drivers self-regulate? Characteristics of self-regulation classes defined by latent class analysis



Distracted driving occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off your primary task: driving safely.7 Any non-driving activity you engage in while behind the wheel is a potential distraction and increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.



In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. 8



In 2015, there were 5,376 pedestrians killed and an estimated 70,000 injured in traffic crashes in the U.S. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 1.6 hours and injured every 7.5 minutes in a traffic crash.9 Distracted driving such as talking on the phone, text-messaging, or listening to music can influence pedestrian safety. Holidays can also be the cause of pedestrian injuries. For example, on Halloween, the number of pedestrian accident deaths involving children is four times that of an average day because of children improperly crossing roads or intersections and lack of visibility because of low lighting and/or dark clothing. Check out the resources below to learn how to prevent these accidents.



In 2016, 4,976 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes. The number of nonfatal injuries that year totaled 88,000. Fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers have increased nearly 3% from 2006, driven largely by an 8% increase in 2015.10 It is crucial that motorcyclists practice basic safety measures to avoid injuries. Although Indiana requires only riders younger than 18 years of age to wear helmets (IC 9-19-7-1), a helmet is the most important safety equipment that every biker should use.



Every year, some 25 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus.11 Children and parents need to do their part to stay alert and aware of their surroundings to prevent injury.



The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that heavy trucks are involved in a high percentage of traffic motor crashes resulting in death, injury and damage to both public and private property. In 2016, truck drivers had a fatal injury rate of 24.7 per 100,000.12


Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Safety

Indiana law requires all ORVs to be registered and all children under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while operating an ORV. More information on these laws is provided in the resources directly below. Safety tips for ORVs include wearing the right safety equipment, making sure the ORV is age appropriate and never driving under the influence.



  1. National Center for Health Statistics. (2016). National Vital Statistics System. Retrieved from
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: 2016 Data: Occupant Protection. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2018. Publication no. DOT-HS-812-494. Available at
  3. Indiana Legislative. (2018). General and traffic law. Retrieved August 1, 2018, from
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). Parents are the key. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2016). Traffic Safety Facts 2016: Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the General Estimate System (GES). Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from
  6. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality facts 2015, Older people. Arlington (VA): IIHS; November 2016. Retrieved on October 29, 2018. Available from
  7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2013). Visual-manual NHTSA driver distraction guidelines for in-vehicle electronic devices: notice of federal guidelines. Federal Register 78(81):24818-24890.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). Impaired driving: Get the fact. Retrieved on August 1, 2018, from
  9. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2015). Pedestrians. Retrieved from
  10. National Safety Council. (n.d.). Motorcycle safety is a two-way street. Retrieved from
  11. National Safety Council. (n.d.). Buses are the Safest Mode of Transportation for School Children. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from
  12. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017). Number of fatal work injuries by employee status, 2003–16. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from
  13. Consumer Federation of America. (2018). Off-Highway Vehicle Safety and Fatality Data. Consumer Federation of America. Retrieved on October 29, 2018, from

Contact Information:

Maria Cariaso, CPST
Injury Prevention Program Coordinator, Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention

Page last updated 12/22/21.