Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 14, 2014

Report shows collisions increasing each year

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Indiana traffic fatalities increased 3.9 percent from 2011-12, but decreased annually on average 0.7 percent since 2003, according to fact sheets compiled in Indiana Crash Facts 2012, the most recent year available.

The Indiana University Public Policy Institute collaborated with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to analyze data from the Automated Reporting Information Exchange System database maintained by the Indiana State Police.

With 188,841 collisions in 2012, this was a 0.4 percent increase from the prior year.In addition, fatal collisions increased 6.5 percent during that time.

Collisions were most common during afternoon rush hour, 3-5:59 p.m. weekdays. In 2012, the highest proportion of fatal accidents (1.2 percent) occurred on Sundays and Fridays midnight-3 a.m.

From 2008-12, the winter months had the highest incidence of total collisions, while summer months had the highest number of fatal ones. The lowest incidence of both types occurred during early spring months throughout the five-year period, according to the report.

“While the number of Indiana crashes has remained steady overall since 2009, aggressive driving collisions and crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver have been on the rise during this time period .... (and) collisions that involved a speeding driver have been on the decline since 2008.”

Collisions involving an alcohol-impaired driver “increased at an annualized rate of 11 percent between 2008-12 .... Alcohol-impaired collisions (5,152) increased 4.3 percent in 2012, up from 4,938 in 2011.” Traffic fatalities that occurred in these types of crashes increased 12.9 percent in 2012 from the previous year. “Eighty-four percent of alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities – 132 of 158 – were drivers.”

The percentage of fatal collisions involving an impaired driver was “particularly high during holiday periods,” the document stated.

“While 12.8 percent of all fatal collisions in 2012 involved an impaired driver, 25 percent of fatal collisions that occurred during the New Year’s holiday period involved a driver who was legally impaired .... 58.3 percent of fatal collisions that occurred over St. Patrick’s Day, and 40 percent ... that occurred over Memorial Day involved a driver who was legally impaired.

“Aggressive driving collisions (4,494) increased 4.1 percent in 2012 and have increased at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent since 2008. The total number of individuals killed or injured in aggressive driving crashes increased from 1,795 in 2011 to 1,951 in 2012 (8.7 percent). Thirty-six individuals were killed in 2012 in aggressive driving collisions.”

Accidents involving a driver who was speeding decreased at an annualized rate of 7.6 percent between 2008-12. “Total speed-related collisions (16,608) decreased 5.2 percent in 2012, down from 17,517 in 2011. While overall speeding collisions decreased in 2012, the number of traffic fatalities that occurred in speeding collisions increased 16.7 percent in 2012.”

The “total disregarding a signal collisions (4,009) increased 1.4 percent in 2012, but have decreased at an annualized rate of 2 percent since 2008. Collisions that involved a hit-and-run driver (23,050) followed a similar pattern, increasing 1.8 percent between 2011-12, but decreasing at an annualized rate of 2.1 percent between 2008-12. Crashes that involved a driver distracted by a cell phone decreased 3.1 percent from 1,168 in 2011 to 1,132 in 2012.

Unsafe driver actions represented the largest number (118,933) of collisions in 2012. Following too closely (30,799) and failure to yield right of way (29,452) accounted for the largest number of collisions, the document said.

There were 331,693 vehicles involved in Hoosier collisions that year. Passenger cars composed 60 percent of these vehicles, while sport utility vehicles composed nearly 14 percent and pickup trucks, 12 percent of those involved. Large trucks accounted for 4 percent of total vehicles in all collisions, but 11 percent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes.

Collisions involving motorcycles and mopeds increased 15.6 percent from 2011-12, while fatal collisions increased 24.8 percent, from 117 in 2011 to 146.

“Motorcycle and moped operators involved in crashes in 2012 were more likely to have previous driving offense convictions than other motor vehicle operators. Eighteen percent of moped operators had prior alcohol offenses, and 24.1 percent had prior licensing offenses, much higher than operators of other vehicles, including motorcycles,” the report noted.

Persons can view the entire document at http://bit.ly/1iAvxEP.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.