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Fatal crash team expands duties; 79th, Michigan Road intersection to get first look

City expands Fatal Crash Review Team

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city government’s Fatal Crash Review Team will pick six “high-conflict intersections” and study how to make them safer, an Indianapolis City-County Council committee unanimously decided Thursday.

Expanding the team’s role will put added attention on road crossings that experience high numbers of incapacitating crashes, the Department of Public Works believes.

The first intersection to be studied will be 79th Street and Michigan Road. Vehicular entries to a gas station, a medical and dental care facility, a bank, a laundromat, and restaurants sit near the intersection.

Michigan Road has two lanes in each direction while 79th has one lane each way. The intersection has traffic lights.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization’s traffic safety risk score map gives the intersection a 6, with 10 as the highest risk. Along points north of the intersection, the score goes to a 7.

The other five intersections to be studied will be determined after 79th and Michigan is reviewed, a spokesman for the Department of Public Works says.

A Public Works news release issued Thursday night outlined how the team’s effort will proceed:

  • Using the Automated Reporting Information Exchange System crash database, a single location having the highest total number of incapacitating and fatal crashes within a two-month study period will be identified.
  • A “Road Safety Audit” will be conducted for the location. That’ll include detailed crash data analysis, a crash diagram, a field visit, and proposed improvements. The audit will include three years of crash data.

The five-person Fatal Crash Review Team began work in summer 2022 to evaluate dangerous streets and intersections where deadly crashes have happened.

The City-County Council’s Public Works Committee on Thursday approved how the team can proceed. The City-County Council in November had approved the expansion of the Fatal Crash Review Team’s duties.


“Today we took another significant step forward in advancing our approach to protecting our most vulnerable road users. Indy DPW thanks the members of the City-County Council for working with our team to help grow our understanding of crashes in our city. By investigating areas with the highest incidence of serious crashes, as well as fatal crashes, we believe we can better utilize the data available to us to identify patterns of conflict and implement both short-term and long-term safety improvements as a result.”

Brandon Herget, director of Indianapolis Department of Public Works

“Addressing the safety of constituents goes beyond preventing fatal crashes, and I appreciate Indy DPW’s report this evening and their ongoing partnership on this important issue,” said Councilor , District 7. “We cannot solve our city’s pedestrian safety crisis overnight – it will take hard work by all of us to make our city safer.” 

John Barth, Democratic member of the City-County Council