With over 2 million registered vehicles in the state, there were 175,821 collisions in Indiana in 2020. Although many of these instances were minor, there were still 896 deaths and 38,913 injuries resulting from these wrecks.
Many car accidents involve a combination of causes, such as distractions, driving under the influence, and speeding. While some accidents are inevitable, many are avoidable, especially when drivers are or should have been aware of the major threats on the road.
Read on to learn the leading causes of car accidents in Indiana and how an auto accident attorney from Wagner Reese can help if you suffer injuries in a collision.
What Are the Four Main Causes of Car Accidents?
A simple case of human error or a split-second lapse in concentration can cause a severe crash that has lifelong implications, from painful injuries to loss of future income. Despite improvements in car safety, infrastructure, and traffic safety initiatives, fatalities on Indiana roads have increased in recent years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is the critical contributing factor in 94% of car crashes at the national level. Most car accidents occur due to four factors: speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and running red lights.
Speeding is one of the biggest dangers to all road users, with 11,258 people losing their lives in high-speed crashes in 2020. The NHTSA estimates that speed was a factor in almost a third of all motor-related fatalities in the past 20 years.
Indiana saw 20,200 speeding-related collisions in 2019, with 188 resulting in at least one fatality. Speeding increases the likelihood of losing control over your vehicle, reduces the effectiveness of safety equipment like seatbelts and airbags, increases the time and distance it takes you to slow or come to a stop, and causes far more severe injuries in an accident.
- Drunk Driving
Approximately one person dies in a drunk driving accident in the U.S. every 45 minutes. 11,654 people lost their lives due to alcohol-impaired driving in 2020, a 14% increase from the previous year.
In Indiana, there were 106 alcohol-related fatalities in 2019, representing 13.3% of all crash deaths in the state. You can reduce the risk of an alcohol-related crash by driving responsibly. If you go out with friends, plan your ride home by calling a taxi, using a ride-share app, or electing a designated driver. Never drink and drive, and don’t get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can be anything that takes your attention from driving, whether you’re eating, changing the radio station, or chatting with a passenger. Distractions were the proximate cause of 3,142 deaths in 2020 nationally and 10,300 accidents in Indiana in 2019. The increased reliance on smartphones for communicating and navigating has created the potential for these figures to increase even further.
Indiana is a hands-free driving state, which means drivers are prohibited from using a handheld phone or electronic device while operating a vehicle. Studies found that the increased risk of a crash was as much as six times higher when drivers were using their phones versus when they were not. Phone usage can be considered negligence in a legal claim following an accident.
- Running Red Lights
Red light running occurs frequently and was the cause of 928 road deaths in the U.S. in 2020. Approximately 40% of car crashes occur at intersections and are often caused by drivers jumping a red light or stop sign. Disregarding a traffic signal accounted for 3,900 accidents in Indiana in 2019.
Obeying traffic lights and staying aware of your surroundings is the best way to remain safe at intersections and junctions. While red light cameras aren’t in place in Indiana, state legislators are discussing placing them in some areas.
How Can Defensive Driving Prevent Car Accidents?
Defensive driving involves using driving techniques and strategies that allow you to identify potential hazards quickly and act accordingly to reduce the risk of an accident. Incorporating defensive driving into your daily routine can help you reduce the risk of a crash. Effective techniques include:
- Maintaining a safe distance between you and other vehicles (approximately two car lengths)
- Scanning your surroundings frequently and using your mirrors
- Being aware of your blind spots
- Understanding your vehicle’s stopping distance in all conditions
- Yielding right of way when appropriate
- Leaving space for faster vehicles to overtake
- Obeying traffic signs and lights
How Do You Prove Reckless and Negligent Driving?
Hiring the experienced Indiana Vehicle Accident Attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you build a compelling case to earn the compensation you deserve if you were involved in a car accident due to driver negligence.
Our lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your accident and compile evidence to negotiate with insurers or file a lawsuit on your behalf. Proof of negligence may include:
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Dashcam footage
- Speedometer calibration
- Expert testimonies
- Accident reconstruction reports
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Today
Car crashes can cause devastating injuries and lasting psychological effects that lower your quality of life. At Wagner Reese, we have won millions in compensation for our clients.
If you were involved in an accident, schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your legal situation and let us fight to get you a fair settlement for your injuries.