INDOT Sets Goal to Reduce Fatalities and Incapacitating Injuries by 25 percent on Indiana Roadways

INDOT Sets Goal to Reduce Fatalities and Incapacitating Injuries by 25 percent on Indiana Roadways

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN (March 14, 2024)  – Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Mike Smith addressed the agency’s renewed focus on safety and commitment to the Buckle Up Phone Down initiative during opening remarks at the 110th annual Purdue Road School Conference and Expo on Tuesday. Buckle Up Phone Down is a safety campaign that tackles two of the most impactful actions both drivers and passengers can take to prevent crashes and increase chances of survival if one occurs: buckling up and putting the phone down.

INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith.
INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith gives his remarks at the 110th Purdue Road School.

“We understand that changing human behavior is a monumental undertaking,” said Commissioner Smith. “Programs and initiatives like Buckle Up Phone Down are a step toward progress, and we’re asking all Hoosiers to take on this challenge and help make roadways safer in Indiana.”

Statistics show that buckling up and putting the phone down every time someone gets in a vehicle can reduce highway incidents and fatalities. INDOT invites Hoosier drivers, industry partners, local agencies, businesses, law enforcement and other stakeholders to participate in the Buckle Up Phone Down initiative. More information and partnering resources are available at

INDOT first adopted Buckle Up Phone Down in fall of 2023 and joins other state departments of transportation across the county in a concerted effort to change habits and behaviors, specifically related to unrestrained drivers and passengers as well as distracted driving. These efforts also support INDOT’s new agency goal to reduce fatalities and incapacitating injuries on Indiana roadways by 25 percent over the next decade.

Hoosiers should buckle up each and every time they get in a vehicle, as a driver or a passenger. Of the 980 people killed on Indiana roadways in 2022, 253 were unrestrained. Buckling up in the front seat of a passenger car reduces risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and moderate or critical injury by 50 percent according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Commissioner Smith
Commissioner Smith signs the Buckle Up Phone Down banner at Purdue Road School.

Drivers should also put their phones down when they get behind the wheel. Despite the Hands-Free Indiana law enacted in 2020, distracted driving is still a leading cause of crashes. Indiana State Police reports that mobile devices were involved in more than 7,000 crashes in 2022. Incidents could be reduced or completely avoided if drivers would not only stop texting, but avoid interaction with their phones or devices at all while driving.  AAA reports that texting increases the chances of a car crash by 50 percent.