The State of Indiana 2015 Annual Report revealed that 829 people were killed in traffic accidents, up from 746 the previous year. A further 18,647 suffered from incapacitating auto accident injuries. 215 fatalities were caused by speeding drivers, and 180 involved intoxicated drivers. More than 50 of those fatalities involved drivers under the age of 20.
The attorneys at Rowe & Hamilton Attorneys at Law have handled thousands of Indiana auto accident fatality and injury claims, and we work hard to ensure that the victims recover fair compensation for their damages and losses. Yet, seeking compensation for victims is not enough if we don’t do our part to study the causes of such incidents and work to educate Indiana drivers about what to watch out for and how to prevent auto accidents. We know the devastating effects an accident can have on your family and your personal lives, so presenting accidents is the best strategy for everyone.
In our research, we’ve uncovered that the most frequent causes of Indiana auto accidents include general unsafe and reckless driving, distracted driving, and driver impairment. Then, there are the contributing factors of commercial vehicles, weather, and road conditions. Each of these elements can be further broken down into a set of behaviors that result in such incidents, so we’ll take a deeper look into these causes and contributing factors.
A Wide Range of General Unsafe Driving Behaviors in Indiana
General unsafe driving behaviors comprise a wide range of negligent and unsafe actions. Speeding is a top cause, having claimed 215 lives in 2015, as is tailgating, failing to yield, weaving in and out of traffic, and improper passing of other vehicles. More than 41 thousand drivers were issued citations for speeding in 2015.
Indiana’s Crash Fact report from 2014 pointed out that other common unsafe driving behaviors include unsafely backing up, driving too fast for the visibility or weather, making improper turns, driving the wrong way, and ignoring signs and signals that direct traffic on Indiana roads. In many cases, one driver will receive a citation after an auto accident caused by one of these factors. In such cases, the victims can recover compensation for their injuries.
Various Distracted Driving Behaviors that Cause Indiana Accidents
When you think of distracted driving, these days, you automatically picture a cell phone or other electronic device, drawing the driver’s attention away from the road. This has become an increasingly serious problem in recent years, though it is not the only form of distracted driving that claims lives on Indiana roads. Distracted driving behaviors were around long before the introduction of handheld technology in our lives, and many of those behaviors still cause accidents, today. For example, people still eat while driving and put on makeup. People still have passengers and conversation to distract them. Drivers still play with the radio and turn in their seats to deal with children who are trying to escape their car seats or dropping sippy cups.
In 2015, however, nearly 240 people were cited for texting while driving, and those are only the ones who got caught. Plenty of drivers are further distracted by their efforts to not be caught texting while driving, so that their attention is divided even more than it was. About 1/3 of drivers admit to texting while driving, even though they also acknowledge that it’s dangerous. More than 5,500 of the auto accidents in 2014 were attributed to distracted driving in its various forms, and eight of those incidents resulted in a death. CDC estimated that each day in 2013 in the US, 1,611 drivers are injured or killed due to distracted driving. The statistics are even higher now.
When Impaired and Intoxicated Drivers Cause Indiana Auto Accidents
Far too many auto accidents in Indiana and throughout the US are still caused by impaired and intoxicated drivers. This doesn’t just refer to those who have a high blood alcohol content (over .08%), though these are included. It also includes individuals who are impaired by other drugs and even the side effects of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Every year, there are thousands of intoxicated drivers involved in auto accidents.
Beyond intoxicating substances, like alcohol, drugs, and medications, there are also the impairments of drowsiness and illness. In 2014, there were nearly 1,400 auto accidents caused by drowsy drivers nodding off when they didn’t get enough sleep. The symptoms of illness caused more than 700 impaired driving accidents the same year.
When Commercial Vehicles Are Involved in Indiana Auto Accidents
Commercial vehicles are those which are driving for business purposes, such as tractor-trailers, tankers, flatbeds, buses and semi-trucks. These are frequently very large vehicles that can lead to devastation when involved in an auto accident. These kinds of incidents accounted for roughly 8% of all auto accidents in 2014, with close to 150 fatalities. The vast majority of those fatalities (close to 90%) were to individuals who were in smaller passenger vehicles. Rowe and Hamilton is experienced in trucking cases and sadly we have seen over and over again, distracted and tired truck drivers causing needless accidents.
When Bad Weather and Road Conditions Cause Auto Accidents in Indiana
Sometimes, auto accidents are not caused by the negligence of a driver. Rather, they are the direct result of bad weather and poor roadway conditions. Such factors accounted for more than 24 thousand auto accidents in 2014. Bad weather, like heavy raid, blizzards, and hail can reduce visibility, while icy roads, wet roads, and damaged roads can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, even when they take precautions.
Even so, there are also plenty of cases where these weather and environment issues are compounded by unsafe driving behaviors, like speeding (or travelling too fast for conditions) or distractions (even more hazardous when the road requires more focused attention). A driver is responsible to drive in a reasonable manner given the current conditions of the road and weather. In some cases, when the issue is related to poor road maintenance, the government may actually be the liable party in your auto accident claim.
When Multiple Factors Contribute to Indiana Auto Accidents
It can be difficult to sort through the complexities of an auto accident that has multiple contributing factors. If you’ve been in an Indiana auto accident with one or more causal or contributing factors, contact the dedicated car crash attorney in Indiana at Rowe & Hamilton Attorneys at Law for a free consultation to learn about the options available to you for recovering compensation. We have over 32 years of experience helping the injured put their lives together again.