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Police, Emergency Workers Have Tough Job Informing Family Of Car Crash Victims

Steve Wagner

No one wants to believe that a car accident could happen to them, but statistics show that it is likely that most people will be in an accident sometime during their life. March of 2017 will be remembered by Indiana Police as a month that started with far too much tragedy on the roadway. An early morning car crash near West Lafayette left three people dead. An Indiana man caused a three-car collision in which his 6-year-old son was killed. Another person died after a weekend car crash in Pendleton and two people, including a schoolteacher, died in car accident as well. A teenage boy died in a single-vehicle crash when his father, who was suffering a medical condition, tried to pull onto the shoulder of the Indiana Toll Road. A woman was pronounced dead after a two-car crash on U.S. 50, during an early morning commute.

In Indiana, it remains the job of many police officers and emergency personnel to notify family of the sudden death of a loved one resulting from vehicle crashes. This duty is often discussed amongst police officers as their ‘hardest’ work. A proposed Indiana law may help in making this process less painful.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 2 and 34. Most current numbers (2010) show that the total traffic-related fatality rate for Indiana is 11.62 fatalities per 100,000 people.


Law enforcement officers responding to tragic car accidents like those listed in this post could quickly notify an emergency contact under a new Indiana bill authored by Republican Rep. Tony Cook of Cicero. House Bill 1084 could be the answer to solving a current communication issue facing first responders searching for contact information of loved ones after a death or life-threatening injury. HB 1084 would work to establish a database of emergency contacts and a protocol for contacting those family members or loved ones. The Bill has been sent to the Senate floor for consideration after being approved 9-0, by a Senate panel.


The Bill would require the bureau of motor vehicles (bureau) to “create, maintain, and operate the Indiana emergency contact data base (data base). Requires a law enforcement officer to: (1) access the data base; and (2) attempt to contact emergency contact persons; within a reasonable amount of time after learning of death or serious bodily injury to an individual holding certain credentials issued by the bureau. Allows each credential holder to have not more than two emergency contact persons entered in the database. Provides that information contained in the database is confidential and exempt from disclosure or public inspection.”

If the Bill continues to move through the Senate and approved, the database would be operational and accessible to law enforcement officers no later than July 1, 2019 and likely make a tough situation easier for all involved.

Car and truck accidents are going to happen and some may cause major injury or even death. If you or someone you know is involved in an accident, we encourage you to contact an experienced attorney right away. All involved parties are likely to be working with attorneys fairly quickly, and you don’t want to be disadvantaged by waiting too long. If you call the vehicular accident attorneys at Wagner Reese, we will start with a FREE consultation. There’s no risk, so call us today: (888) 204-8440.


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