Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

300,000 Involved in 2009 Car Crashes, But Numbers Still Down

Numbers released Thursday by Indiana University’s Center for Criminal Justice Research show the number of car crashes in the Hoosier State was down in 2009.

In 2009, there were more than 189,000 car crashes in Indiana, involving more than 300,000 people.  Though not all of those were Hoosiers, it’s a number equivalent to about one in every 21 people in the state.  Those wrecks cost everyone involved an estimated $4.3 billion, or more than $22,000 per fender bender.

The data also confirm what drivers in some of the state’s college towns already know – take extra care behind the wheel if you’re on the road with young people.  Men aged 18 to 20 and women aged 16 to 17 are the most likely groups in each gender to be killed in a car crash.  Correspondingly, Vanderburgh, Tippecanoe and Monroe Counties – all places with large student populations – rank first through third in terms of accidents when compared to population density.

Though more women were hurt in crashes, men have a much greater tendency to die said Center for Criminal Justice Research spokeswoman Dona Sapp.

“There are specific vehicles types where the fatality rate is higher,” she said. “For instance motorcycles – there are going to be more men riding motorcycles than females.”

But Sapp says Indiana is leading a nationwide trend toward lower crash numbers.  Those 189-thousand wrecks still represent better than a 7% decrease from 2008.  Sapp notes fewer miles are also being driven, meaning the economy may be keeping accident incidence down, but also says increased law enforcement vigilance is responsible.  Bloomington State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil said police monitor crash data too.

“The state police have targeted what we call ‘high-crash areas’,” Durnil said.  “We locate these areas and we see from the data that’s given to us what the crashes look like in that area.  If the crashes are particularly high, we will have enforcement patrols in that area.”

Durnil said those patrols have also helped increase the number of people wearing safety belts.  One last sobering statistic about wearing a seatbelt, especially if you’re behind the wheel:  Drivers who weren’t buckled in were 59 times more likely to die in an accident than those who were.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From