Chesterton Tribune

Indiana State Police blitzing to stem rising tide of rural crash deaths

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The Indiana State Police is launching an aggressive traffic enforcement initiative to stem the rising number of rural crash-deaths.

According to a statement released on Monday, this year’s statistics show that urban accidents are down slightly but that both rural crashes and crash-deaths are up.

“The Indiana State Police has analyzed this trend, and unlike the past, no clear pattern of location for these fatal crashes is materializing,” the ISP said. “What we see are random fatal crashes occurring in unpredictable locations.”

“What did materialize, though, are the factors resulting in these senseless rural crash deaths,” the ISP noted.

Those factors:

•Driving off the right edge of the road.

•Failure to yield the right of way and disregarding traffic signals.

•Unsafe speed.

•Driving left of center.

“Historically, these violations are associated with inexperienced drivers or drivers who are fatigued or distracted by an array of electronic devices, other passengers, or eating and drinking beverages while driving,” the ISP said.

As a response to this trend, the ISP is beginning an “aggressive,” traffic violation enforcement program, which will include a combination of marked and traditional unmarked patrol cars, non-traditional stealth patrol vehicles like Ford Mustangs, and aircraft patrols.

Also included: ISP vehicles that look like INDOT work trucks and are concentrated near construction zones.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to minimize the number of crashes that injure and kill people on our roadways and will use all tools and enforcement methods at our disposal to stop such needless tragedies,” ISP Superintendent Paul Whitesell said.

The ISP added that there is a solid correlation between the number of citations and warnings issued to motorists and the number of accidents. Between July 2008 and March 2012, a decrease in ISP “traffic enforcement contacts”—citations or warnings—has been correlated with an increase in crashes. An increase in contacts, conversely, has been correlated with a decrease in crashes.


Posted 6/19/2012