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Bad Hoosier Drivers Part 1: Disobeying Traffic Laws

Steve Wagner


  • Hoosiers generally rank in the middle compared to the rest of the country for good and bad drivers, except that they repeatedly score low on obeying traffic laws, which unfortunately can cause a significant number of deaths and lifelong injuries to themselves or others.
  • Although most drivers were taught valuable skills that should carry throughout their driving life, not everyone continues to practice them, even the simplest ones.
  • The lack of seat belts and use of child restraints, as well as driving while texting or distracted, continues to serve as two of the most common traffic laws ignored that can increase personal injury risks associated with car crashes.
  • Wagner Reese motor vehicle attorneys are concerned about the increase of road fatalities during the summer months, so we have created a four-part series highlighting the ways Hoosiers are bad drivers.

What Makes a Hoosier a Bad Driver, Part 1 of 4: Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Many groups will gather data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assess which states’ drivers are really the worst. Car Insurance Comparison does a nice job ranking each U.S. state in terms of:

  1. Fatality Rate: The total number of traffic deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
  2. Failure to Obey: The number of road fatalities involving failure to use safety restraints.
  3. Drunk Driving: The number of fatal crashes involving a driver impaired by alcohol.
  4. Speeding: The number of driving deaths involving a driver who was speeding.
  5. Careless Driving: The number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed by motorists for every 100 thousand residents.

Hoosiers generally have decent numbers compared to the rest of the country, except that they apparently don’t obey traffic safety laws (#11 out of 51), which unfortunately caused a significant number of deaths in 2017. Let’s take a closer look at two laws most commonly violated.

  • Seat Belts and Child Restraints: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing seat belts and properly buckling children into appropriate car seats and booster seats, can reduce the risk of serious injury and death in a car crash by half. Always be consistent and wear your seat belt and remember that driver safety belt use strongly influences whether other passengers, including children will buckle up. Across Indiana, all passengers in vehicles that have seatbelts must use them while in forward motion and all children under 8 years old are required by law to ride in a vehicle while secured in either a child safety seat or a booster.
  • Driving Distracted: The last thing drivers should be doing is spending time on their phone while behind the wheel, especially since distracted driving, specifically texting while driving, remains a major culprit behind most preventable crashes and thousands of Indiana car accidents every year, some fatal. In fact, reading just one text message will keep a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, enough time to run a traffic light or not see a pedestrian crossing the road. And for the first time ever, distracted driving trends have started to surpass deaths from DUI. Not good.

These may read as common sense driving rules, but they are also the laws most motor vehicle operators often break and in doing so, increase accident and injury rates for others across the state. Since the team at Wagner Reese hopes to help you avoid being one of these drivers OR an accident victim during the warm weather season, with more drivers on the road, we will continue to write about safe driving topics on our blog and share these tips for staying accident free on our Facebook page, in a four part series over the next few weeks. Please follow along and share this “quick read” information with the drivers in your life.

Indiana Needs Safe Drivers This Summer

If tragedy strikes and you or someone you love is injured in a summer related driving accident, please call the vehicular accident attorneys at Wagner Reese for a free consultation. We put decades of experience to work for you, and we won’t collect any fees unless your case is settled or won. Connect with us by submitting our online form, and our attorneys will review your information, and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.


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