INDIANAPOLIS — Each time you get behind the wheel, you hope to make it to your destination.
Whether it be speed or texting, many of these things contribute to reckless driving. It’s something the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is trying to stop.
The institute is awarding more than $6.5 million in traffic safety grants to 200 police departments throughout the state.
Departments will use the funding to conduct “zero tolerance” overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints – most of which will take place during dedicated enforcement periods throughout the year.
“A number of those blitz are alcohol-related. We are trying to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roadways,” Captain Ronald Galaviz, chief public information officer for Indiana State Police, said.
As of early October, preliminary data shows 683 people have been killed in crashes in Indiana. Even though this is around the same rate as in 2020, it represents a marked increase of 8% from 2019.
If the pace continues and with the holiday travel season ahead, Indiana could surpass 900 traffic fatalities by the end of the year – one of the highest in the past decade.
“These crashes have a ripple effect on so many people, the drivers, the families, their friends, [and] their colleagues,” Galaviz said.
He hopes the funding will stop more families from losing loved ones like the family of Taylor Cole, her unborn baby and her son Braxton – three of the four victims killed in a wrong-way crash on I-265.
"Whatever happens to her, isn't going to compare to what we are going through every single solitary day. It doesn't get easier, no matter what people to tell you. Time doesn't heal."
Galaviz said departments are working hard to get numbers going the other direction. However, he said police need help from motorists in stopping reckless driving trends.
“Please help us. Please help us help you,” he said.
In Clark County, five departments will split $165,000. In Floyd County, the New Albany Police Department will receive nearly $20,000.