National Safety Council: Fatal crashes on the rise in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Fatal crashes are on the rise in Indiana. That’s according to a new study by he National Safety Council that claims since 2014 deadly crashes have increased by 33 percent in the Hoosier state. There are a lot of factors that could contribute to the numbers and distracted driving is one of them.

The report says more than 19,000 people have been killed in the first six months of this year. 2.2 million people were seriously injured.

Experts say the rise in deaths could be tied to a stronger economy, lower unemployment rates, and gas prices falling. That's led to a three percent increase in miles driven.

A Carmel family shared their story with us to shed light on the damage caused by not paying attention while you’re behind the wheel. 19-year-old Sydney Campbell and her boyfriend were struck and killed by a distracted driver in 2011. Now her family is paying it forward by raising money for scholarships to donate in her honor.

The family created the foundation called Sydney's Smile to raise money for scholarships in her honor. The Campbell family is working with collecting shoes that will be donating to third world countries. The organization pays the family 40 cents per pound. They've used that money to donate scholarships to the Aveda Frederic's Institute where Sydney graduated from.

The family also wants to spread their message to other drivers.

"A poor choice and a split second can not only devastate you because I feel bad for the lady that took my daughter’s life. Her life can't be good either. So no one wins in this situation," mother, Shelley Campbell said.

To help ensure safety, the National Safety Council recommends drivers:

Make sure every passenger buckles up on every trip

  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits, as teens are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. My Car Does What can help drivers understand features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.