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Indiana Crash Prediction Website Aimed at Decreasing Fatal Accidents

Jason Reese

This week, the Indiana State Police launched their new Crash Prediction Website. The website, a collaborative effort between the Indiana State Police (ISP) and the Management and Performance Hub (MPH), is believed to have the capacity to increase public awareness of roadway safety and save lives. The MPH combines the work of state agencies, the Indiana Office of Technology, and the Indiana Office of Management and Budget, serving to provide centralized data and analysis for complex policy issues.

Originally, the idea came about due to a concern over the rapidly rising numbers of traffic accidents, both fatal and non-fatal. Though traffic accidents have been increasing since around 2011, a significant 7.5% jump in fatal accidents between 2014 and 2015 was a huge rallying cry for state agencies and policy-makers who are concerned about the roadway safety of Indiana residents. Out of this concern, the Crash Prediction Website was born.

Improved Decision Making for Drivers, Police, and Emergency Responders

The idea behind the Crash Prediction Website was to help multiple constituents make better, safer decisions for the public. It may be a long shot, but there is some hope that drivers will utilize the tool, if not to inform driving decisions, then simply to better understand when and where general accident risk is higher. Many drivers underestimate their risk of serious injury due to an accident, and the ISP hopes the color-coded visuals will help the driving public to more accurately understand and assess their risk in specific locations and during key times of day.

Certainly, the website enhances the ability of police and emergency responders to understand hour-by-hour crash risks and to allocate resources to those times and places where the possibility of a serious accident are high. This can not only help to decrease dangerous driving behaviors by improving police presence in key areas, but it allows emergency responders to be allocated in ways that minimize the response time. Lives may well be saved because injured accident victims can be reached and transported to hospitals more quickly. In addition, the impact of some injuries could potentially be lessened due to lowered time to medical intervention.

Multiple Data Points Help Create Detailed Map of Crash Risk

The Crash Prediction Website uses data from over 2 million crashes. The forecasting model uses information beginning in 2004 and carries forward to current data, which can be integrated into the system nearly immediately. Accident risk is color-coded as low, moderate, or high and grouped into three-hour windows over the course of a day. When a user zooms into a particular area on the map, he or she can get specific details about vehicular accidents, both those involving injury and those not involving injury.

The predictive model used by ISP and MPH encompasses much more than just time and location data points. The risk data is based on weather, traffic, road conditions, time of day, historical information, and census data. Now that the website has been launched, officials hope state agencies and the public will find new ways of using the data to help the state and the public. Obviously, the ISP wants to decrease fatal and non-fatal vehicle crashes, and they hope to make roadways safer for the people of Indiana. There are, of course, also financial reasons for the state to decrease accidents.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Exact Personal and Financial Costs

Even a 1% reduction in statewide crashes could keep $35 million more in the pockets of Indiana drivers and travelers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total cost of crash-related deaths in Indiana amounts to over $1 billion per year, with a large majority of the cost coming from work loss. By far, motor vehicle occupants account for the greatest proportion of fatal crash victims, at a cost of $251 million. Car crashes that leave victims disabled also have significant personal and financial costs. The money, however important, doesn’t even come close to the damage done to individuals and families.

Losing a loved one or undergoing painful but necessary life changes due to an injury has an emotional and psychological price, both for the injured individual and his or her family. Traumatic and debilitating medical conditions such as paralysis, brain injury, internal injury, and loss of limbs are common in catastrophic accidents. We know pain and suffering can extend well beyond the initial injury and recovery period. The lives of crash victims are never the same.

In addition to those already mentioned, there are likely other costs that most people never consider:

  • There is evidence that large numbers of people who are disabled in a car crash cease to own their own home and move to renting instead.
  • At least one survey shows victims of serious car crashes are more likely to experience a divorce or relationship separation after an accident.
  • Job loss after a disabling car accident is unfortunately not uncommon. To make matters worse, it can take those with a disability twice as long to find a new job.
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other psychological effects can affect not only the victim of the accident, but those who witnessed the accident or the aftereffects of the accident.

Many Vehicular Accidents Remain Preventable

Preventable vehicular accidents are far too common in the United States. We have known for a very long time that driving under the influence, speeding, and failure to wear appropriate safety restraints are major contributors to traffic fatalities. Over the last ten years, distracted driving has joined this deadly list of problematic, unnecessary human behaviors. It is not yet obvious if predictive tools like the Crash Prediction Website may be able to improve individual decisions, policy determinations, or resource allocations in ways that will save lives. We certainly hope so.

In the case of a catastrophic car, truck, pedestrian, or bicycle accident, you and your family need experienced, relentless legal representation from attorneys with a long history of success. The vehicular accident attorneys at Indianapolis-based Wagner Reese can help you move forward with your claim with confidence. We have long-served the communities of Central Indiana and beyond, and we are proud of the results we’ve found on behalf of our clients. If you wonder how we can help you after your car accident, call us at (888) 204-8440 today for a completely free consultation.

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