A study of the safest states in the country based on the number of accident fatalities in 2009, places Indiana at number 24. With 690 accident fatalities in 2009, Indiana has a vehicle death rate of 10.8. That is slightly better than the national average of 11.0, but much worse than the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. In fact, Indiana fares worse than crowded New York and New Jersey with their notoriously bad roads.
As Indiana personal injury attorneys, we find that the accident fatality numbers in the state are unacceptably high. So, why does Indiana continue to struggle with high accident fatality numbers? The answer could lie in the number of rural roads we have. One look at the results of the study indicates that states that have fewer accident fatalities and lower vehicle death rates, have more urban roads than rural roads.
Rural communities typically have a higher accident rate due to a variety of factors. For one, these communities have more two-lane roads, which are widely regarded as unsafe. Besides, rural roads tend to be poorly designed, badly constructed, and suffer from a lack of upkeep.
There are other reasons why rural roads in Indiana are such an accident magnet. These roads see fewer efforts by law enforcement agencies to crack down on speeding or intoxicated motorists. There are fewer anti-drunk driving crackdowns of the kind that we see so often in Indianapolis or other major Indiana cities. There are also few campaigns to catch people violating seat belt laws. As a result, more lives are lost in accidents that are entirely preventable.
Rural areas also tend to be further away from the nearest trauma care center. During the first hour after a serious accident, a critically injured person needs emergency life-saving medical care, and the longer he is kept away from such care, the lower his chances of surviving the accident. That’s one of the reasons why accident death rates in rural areas are much higher than those in urban Indiana cities. It’s also the reason why lawmakers should be dedicating some resources to enforcing seat belt and anti-DUI laws in rural areas, and increasing accessibility to trauma care.