Police link increase in distracted driving to spike in fatal crashes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Thousands of drivers cruise through Indiana interstates on a daily basis.

“We are the Crossroads of America,” said Trooper Kyle Hankins.

Indiana State Police Trooper Kyle Hankins says many of those drivers, including semi-truck drivers are not paying attention to the road.

“Whether they are watching something on their cell phone, reading an email, or texting someone,” said Trooper Hankins.

Police believe distracted driving is the cause of recent fatal crashes around central Indiana.

“It is so portable and always right there,” said Trooper Hankins.

In just the past 10days, 11 people have died in five car crashes. Officials say three of those crashes involved semi-trucks and construction zones. Police say in those incidents, the semi-truck drivers slammed into the back of cars that slowed down quickly.

“I think construction zones play into it because with the reduced speeds and the combination of drivers and attention there is less room for error,” said Trooper Hankins.

ISP says with more drivers on the roads in the summer and distracted driving on the rise, crashes are common. That is why ISP works daily to get distracted and fatigued drivers off the road.

Police say the key to keeping all drivers safe is sharing the road and making sure you check your rear-view mirror often.

“Provide more space, distance, and reaction time. That would greatly improve things,” said Trooper Hankins.

Among the recent crashes, three people from Greenwood were killed on I-37 near Bloomington, five people from Beech Grove died on I-65 in Kentucky, three died in two separate crashes on I-70 near Terre Haute and one Deputy Chief with IMPD is fighting for his life after a crash Sunday in Plainfield.

No charges have yet been filed in these crashes.