The National Safety Council’s (NSC) annual report, entitled Injury Facts® 2017, compiles the number of fatal accidents that occur each year in this country. And what the NSC terms “preventable deaths” is increasing, year after year. More and more people are dying in accidents in this country.
But how does the risk of dying in an accident vary, from state to state? How safe are we here in our part of the country?
Answers are given in the 2017 State of Safety: a State by State Report. And there’s a big difference between the risk of being involved in a fatal accident in Indiana and in Illinois.
State of Safety in the USA is “Perilous”
According to NSC research, Indiana and Illinois both have serious safety concerns in areas of on road safety, home and community safety, and workplace safety. No state received an “A” on this safety report card.
“The state of safety in America is perilous. We cannot afford to sit back while we lose more than 140,000 people because of issues we know how to prevent. This report provides states with a blueprint for saving lives, and we hope lawmakers, civic leaders, public health professionals and safety advocates heed the recommendations outlined within it to make states and communities measurably safer.”
However, it’s important to be aware that according to the NSC, things are much more dangerous for all of us insofar as dying in a fatal accident the minute that we cross the state line from Illinois into Indiana.
Illinois has its dangers, but it is deemed safer than Indiana – by a long shot.
Highest Accident Risks in Indiana and Illinois
How is this happening, and why the big difference between our neighboring states? What are the things considered to be the most dangerous risks for our loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors?
According to the State of Safety Report, fatal accidents are happening more and more often from the same kinds of accidents.
- Poisoning (including drug overdoses);
- Motor vehicle crashes (car accidents, truck crashes, motorcycle accidents);
- Choking; and
In its “State of Safety: A State-by-State Report,” the National Safety Council delves into these six kinds of causes of unintentional death. These are the main causes of accidents or “preventable deaths” in the United States.
The researchers scrutinized death statistics of each state for the past year, as well as its legislation and safety policies. From that research, each state is given a grade from A (the best) to F (failing).
Today, we’ll consider Indiana’s Safety Score. In our next post, we’ll look at how Illinois was evaluated for fatal and preventable accident deaths.
Indiana Safety Report: 19th in the Nation
The Hoosier State ranks 19th in the country on the safety score with an overall grade of C. It is safer to live and work here than in Kansas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas (all of which failed the safety tests). However, it’s more dangerous to live and work here than in Illinois (which ranked 2nd in the country).
Other states with failing safety scores were Arizona; South Carolina; South Dakota; Montana; Wyoming; Mississippi; Idaho; and Missouri.
Accident Dangers in Indiana
According to the NSC, in some kinds of accidents, Indiana is very dangerous. Consider the following:
1. Indiana Workplace Safety Gets a Failing Grade (F)
According to the study, it is very dangerous for workers on the job here in Indiana. The state was considered acceptable only insofar as it had state and local government employee OSHA coverage and workplace wellness laws in place. However:
- Indiana has no drug-free workplace law. Drug overdoses are a huge risk of death in this country.
- Indiana has no mandatory safety and health program for employers.
- Hoosiers are not protected by any kind of mandatory state workplace safety committee law.
- There is no state enhanced employee 911 program.
- There is an insufficient state workplace violence law.
For more on workplace injuries and the risk of dying from an accident on the job, read:
- The Construction Workers’ Viewpoint: Work Site Safety and Suicide Rates
- Accident Dangers for Indiana Agricultural Workers: Farming, Fishing, Hunting, Forestry
- Do Railroad Workers Face an Increased Risk of Work Injury and Accidents on the Job?
- Steel Mill Workers& Risk of Injury on the Job: Equipment, Working Conditions.
2. Indiana Home and Community Accident Safety Gets a Very Low Grade (D)
The NSC has found that in many areas, Hoosiers are extremely vulnerable for fatal accidents either in their homes or nearby communities, where they shop, recreate, or spend time outside of working hours.
The state is undertaking acceptable efforts to protect kids from sports-related concussions. Indiana has training for coaches in (1) recognizing symptoms of concussion as well as (2) awareness training. There are also acceptable return-to-play laws as well as educational programs for both kids and their parents about the dangers of sports concussions.
However, things are very dangerous in other areas of daily Hoosier life. These include:
- No law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in schools, homes, hotels, or motels.
- No law requiring smoke alarms with 10-year lifetime batteries.
- No law requiring sprinkler systems in new family homes (single family dwellings and duplexes).
- No law requiring fall prevention strategies and education for older adults living in an age-specific (elder or senior) community.
- No mandatory education program on pain management for those who prescribe pain medication (including opioids).
- No buprenorphine for treatment of heroin or opioid disorders.
- No updated public pool and water facility regulations to conform with model aquatic health code.
- No safe storage law for firearms.
- No universal background checks at point of transfer for firearms.
- No waiting period for firearms purchases (except for handguns).
- No license or permit + training required (it’s permit only).
For more on fatal accidents involving firearms, fires, drug overdoses, and drowning, read our discussions in:
- Duty of Businesses to Protect You from Active Shooter in Indiana or Illinois
- June is National Safety Month: Week 3 Prepare for Active Shooter
- Winter Danger: Fires and Explosions From Heating Equipment and Devices
- Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms: Make Sure Your Fire Protection Alarms Are Working (a Daylight Saving Time Reminder)
- Injury Is Number 1 Cause of Death in Children: 54% Increase in Infant Suffocations, 91% Increase in Teen Deaths From Poisoning / Prescription Drug Overdose.
3. Indiana Road Safety Gets Better Score (B)
When considering dangers like drunk driving, distracted driving, the high risk of teen driver accidents, and teen crash fatalities, Indiana fares best among the safety categories. However, there were still areas of concern regarding road dangers facing Hoosiers. They include:
- No law mandating motorcycle helmets.
- No law requiring bicycle helmets for all young riders.
- No law requiring stop for pedestrians in uncontrolled roadway (i.e., no stoplight) .
- No lower speed limits in school zones.
- No automated enforcement of traffic laws with red light cameras.
- No law requiring children to be rear-facing in car seats from infancy to age 2.
- No law mandating kids ride in vehicles with boosters or child restraints through age 8.
- No law protecting children from being left in hot cars.
- No ignition-interlock law for all first-time and repeat DUI offenders.
For more on fatal motor vehicle accidents including motorcycle and bicycle crashes as well as children dying in car crashes, see:
- Motorcycle Accidents: Highest Risk for Fatality is in July
- Amputation Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents: Wynonna Judds Husband Loss of Limb in Crash is Reminder to All of Bikers Vulnerability on the Road
- Ride a Bicycle or Take a Walk in Indiana or Illinois: Rising Danger of Large Truck Accidents with Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Kids Killed by Being Hit by a Car: The Rising Danger of Child Pedestrian Accidents
- Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths Totals Grossly Inaccurate: Drunk Driving As A Cause Of Death Not Properly Documented in Death Certificates
Indiana deserves to be the safest state in the country. For those representing victims of serious injuries and fatal accidents, it is not news that there are very real dangers facing Hoosiers each and every day.
From driving on the Borman Expressway next to those big rigs, to having the anxiety of children playing head-contact sports or teens behind the wheel, the risks of harm are high here. Please, let’s be careful out there!