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Where Are You Most Likely to Be in a Fatal DUI in Indiana?

Where Are You Most Likely to Be in a Fatal DUI in Indiana?

DUI fatalities in Indiana have declined by 43% since 2012, yet rural areas across the state continue to see large numbers of deaths annually.
Indianapolis, Indiana skyline
Indianapolis, Indiana skyline Source: Getty Images

Worst large cities in Indiana for fatal DUIs

1. Kokomo

6.91 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents

Kokomo is the most dangerous major city in Indiana for DUI fatalities. Between 2015 and 2017, DUI fatalities increased every year. Furthermore, compared to the three years prior (2012-2014), Kokomo's DUI fatality rate increased by 50%. Kokomo is Indiana's 15th-largest city, approximately 50 miles north of Indianapolis.

2. Elkhart

4.46 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents

In Elkhart, fatal DUI crashes each resulted in one to two deaths. Elkhart's DUI fatality rate was still well more than double the Indiana average for large cities (1.98). Elkhart sits just east of South Bend, which is home to the University of Notre Dame.

3. Terre Haute

3.84 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents

Terre Haute, which sits on Indiana's western border with Illinois off of Interstate 70, saw improvements in its DUI fatality rate over the three years prior, dropping by 22%. Despite a decrease in deaths, however, Terre Haute still had a DUI fatality rate nearly double the state average.

4. Lafayette

3.70 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents

Lafayette, midway between Indianapolis and Chicago, grew its DUI fatality rate by 14% over the previous three years. Notably, Interstate 65 runs through Lafayette and was ranked as the 12th most dangerous highway in America, according to a recent ValuePenguin study.

5. Anderson

3.63 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents

Between 2015 and 2017, Anderson's DUI fatality rate tripled over the period between 2012 and 2014. This was the largest increase in DUI fatality rates among all of Indiana's largest cities. In fact, the majority of large Indiana cities saw decreases in their DUI fatality rate over the past few years.

Most dangerous places in Indiana for DUIs by city size

While above we identified the five worst large cities in Indiana for DUI fatalities, our study analyzed data from more than 500 different municipalities in the state. We grouped these cities by population: small, medium and large. Here, we rank each city based on DUI fatality rates from the most recent three-year period where data was available based on their respective sizes.

This image shows the ten most dangerous cities in Indiana for DUI fatalities for the small, midsize and large city categories.

Within the top 10 cities for DUI fatalities, across size groups, 90% had DUI fatality rates higher than the Indiana state average. Overall, midsize cities tended to be safer than large or small cities, with an average of 1.48 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to 1.98 for large cities and 2.55 for small cities. Of all the Indiana municipalities analyzed, eight of the top 10 most dangerous cities were considered small, with a population between 10,000 and 19,999.

This map shows where the ten overall most dangerous cities in Indiana for DUI fatalities are located.

Notably, across all categories, many high-ranking cities were in more rural areas outside of Indianapolis, the largest metropolitan area in the state. In fact, Indianapolis scored better than most of its large-city peers and saw a lower DUI fatality rate than the state average of 1.91. While Indianapolis did not have a particularly high concentration of DUI-related deaths per capita, half of the medium-sized cities in the top 10 were outside Gary, Ind., and much closer to Chicago.

Large Indiana cities with the biggest increase in fatal DUIs

Of the largest Indiana cities analyzed, 30% saw their DUI fatality rate increase. The city of Anderson had the largest jump, tripling its fatality rate from 1.21 to 3.63. Kokomo is the only large city to have remained in the top five most dangerous cities for DUI deaths in both 2012-2014 and 2015-2017.

2012‒2014 DUI fatality rate
2015‒2017 DUI fatality rate
% change

Most-improved large cities in Indiana for fatal DUIs

The DUI fatality rate for large cities in Indiana dropped 14% between 2012 and 2014, from 2.30 to 1.98. This drop is comparable with the overall state average trend for DUI fatalities, which saw a slightly larger decrease of 19% from 2.34 to 1.91. The five large Indiana cities below either saw no DUI deaths between 2015 and 2017 or decreased fatalities by two-thirds over the period.

2012-2014 DUI fatality rate
2015-2017 DUI fatality rate
% change
4West Lafayette2.070.69-67%-1.38

Consequences of driving while under the influence in Indiana

Indiana drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher can be subject to repercussions such as hefty fines, license suspension, jail time and community service. Drivers with a DUI conviction can also face substantially higher car insurance costs due to the increased risk associated with their driving record. Below, we identify the legal ramifications of first, second and third offenses for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Indiana.

First offense

When convicted of a DUI for the first time, an offender may be required to:

  • Pay court fees of at least $300 and fines up to $5,000.
  • Spend up to one year in jail.
  • Surrender their license for up to two years.
  • Enroll in a substance abuse education program.
  • Enter a probation program.
  • Submit frequent drug and alcohol tests.
  • Attend a compulsory victim impact panel.

Second offense

After a second DUI offense, Indiana drivers may have to:

  • Spend at least five days and up to three years in prison.
  • Perform community service.
  • Pay fines up to $10,000.
  • Surrender their license for at least 180 days and up to two years.
  • Face additional probationary restrictions.

Third offense

Three-time DUI offenders in Indiana may have to:

  • Spend a minimum of 10 days and up to three years in prison.
  • Perform community service.
  • Pay fines up to $10,000.
  • Surrender their license for one to 10 years.
  • Be designated as a habitual traffic violator.
  • Be charged and sentenced as a habitual substance offender with additional prison time.
  • Face additional probationary restrictions.

Convicted DUI offenders also need to obtain SR-22 insurance, typically for five years, until the state restores driving privileges.

Complete list of Indiana cities with DUI fatality rankings

DUI fatalities per 100,000 residents
11New AlbanyMedium4.55
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We identified the total number of fatalities caused by DUI-related crashes in counties reporting at least one fatal DUI from 2012-2017 via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for Indiana. We then calculated the average DUI-related fatalities per year and compared this figure to U.S. Census Bureau data for Indiana counties. We considered large cities to have populations of more than 40,000 residents, medium cities to have populations of 20,000 to 39,999 residents, and small cities to have populations of 10,000 to 19,999 residents.