An Indiana woman died in a crash in the state involving her car and a semi-truck. The tragic crash occurred in Steuben County just before seven in the evening on Sunday, according to Steuben County sheriff. Deputies were called to the crash on Indiana 120 near Steuben County Road 700 North. According to reports, the woman who was killed is Susan Jakovljevic, 48, of Fremont. Upon impact, she was thrown from her car and died at the scene from blunt force trauma. She was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the police.
Circumstances leading up to the crash were being investigated, but the crash seemed to come about when Jakovljevic crossed the centerline. Her vehicle collided with a truck driven by Bartholomew Tinder, 60, of Waldron, Michigan. Waldron was uninjured in the collision and remained on the scene until police arrived.
This recent fatality is exactly what the Indiana legislature was hoping to prevent when it enacted new traffic laws that took effect in the state on July 1, 2018. These laws were put into effect to counter the worrisome trend that fatalities and non-fatal injuries from traffic crashes were rising in Indiana since 2014, according to Langer & Langer injury attorneys. This increase in deaths and injuries follows several decades of decreasing numbers of automobile accident related injuries and deaths. Law enforcement hoped that the new traffic laws would reverse the upswing of tragic deaths occurring on the state’s roadways.
In 2017, preceding the enactment of the new road laws in the state, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute collaborated to analyze data from the Indiana State Police to produce the Indiana Crash Facts 2016 report. Data that emerged from this report revealed that 223,733 collisions occurred during 2016 that resulted in 821 fatalities and 52,591 non-fatal injuries. The major factors contributing to accidents were identified as inexperienced drivers, seatbelt use, alcohol-impaired driving, and speed-related collisions.
The new traffic laws that went into effect in 2018 are a partial improvement, however they are not nearly comprehensive enough to reverse the death toll on the roads, according to a new report released by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The study concludes that in order to make the roads less deadly, Indiana must enact seven additional traffic laws, including: the all-rider motorcycle helmet law; rear facing car seat through age 2 law; booster seat law; a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) with minimum age being 16 for learner’s permit; stronger nighttime restrictions, and more. The study comes after Indiana earned a yellow or “needs improvement” rating for its road safety grade.