Since 2020, there has been a notable increase in auto accident rates across the United States, a trend that has been a cause for concern among traffic safety experts and policymakers.
Investigators have attributed the rise in vehicular accidents to various factors, including changes in driving patterns and behaviors. In general, accident rates here in central Indiana reflect these trends.
Crash rates in Indianapolis
Crash incidents, including those that cause injuries and fatalities, have generally increased over the past few years. For example, in 2022, Indianapolis observed an uptick in traffic-related pedestrian fatalities. There were 21 pedestrians killed in auto accidents, a substantial rise from 11 in the previous year. The city also saw 42 bicyclist crashes. Additionally, there were 3,739 hit-and-run incidents in Indianapolis.
Auto accidents nationwide
This escalation in auto accidents is not unique to central Indiana. In the first three months of 2022, there was a 7% increase in deaths on the road nationwide. Before 2020, the number of people dying in traffic accidents had been declining for three years in a row.
Car collision fatalities
Nationally, 2021 saw nearly 43,000 fatalities on U.S. roads, an increase over previous years. Collisions involving two or more motor vehicles were the most common. Single-vehicle crashes involving fixed objects or pedestrians were less common but represented a higher percentage of fatalities.
Risky driver behaviors
Alcohol-impaired driving continues to be a significant safety issue, causing 13,384 fatalities in 2021. While progress has been reducing these incidents since the 1980s, they still made up 31% of all traffic deaths in 2021. Distracted driving, including the use of smartphones and other devices, remains a pressing concern.
Indianapolis, like the rest of the country, has faced increasing auto accidents and fatalities in recent years.