Starting July 1, Hoosier children under age 18 will be required to wear a helmet when riding or operating an off-road vehicle, unless it is for an agricultural purpose.
The number of deaths related to off-road vehicles is on the rise in Indiana. Last year, 21 Hoosiers died as a result of ATV wrecks. In 2015, an 11-year-old girl named Kate Bruggenschmidt was riding an ATV with a friend on private property in Spencer County. While going up a hill, the ATV rolled and Kate was trapped underneath. She was not wearing a helmet and suffered severe head trauma. Tragically, Kate did not survive the accident. This legislative session, her mother and close friends made touching and courageous testimonies at the Statehouse in support of this law.
Other laws passed this session to help keep Indiana residents safe include:
HEA 1010: A new law aims to keep those who repeatedly violate their probation or community supervision off the streets. Low-level offenders receiving services like addiction treatment can now be committed to the Department of Correction if they don’t adhere to their probation, parole or community corrections.
HEA 1001: As part of the biennial budget, salaries for all state law enforcement officers in Indiana will increase by 24 percent. This includes Indiana State Police and Conservation Officers. This will ensure that those who serve and protect their fellow Hoosiers are compensated at a rate competitive with other states and municipalities.
SEA 322: A new law allowing law enforcement to expand the use of DNA to solve crimes will help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. A cheek swab can now be taken upon felony arrest and, after a court finds probable cause, the DNA sample would be run through a national database to pinpoint and stop criminals. Thirty other states already have similar legislation on the books.
HEA 1289: A new law preventing sex trafficking in massage parlors will require massage therapists to have proper training and certification. Indiana had a voluntary certification process for these individuals. This licensure requirement will protect legitimate professionals while making sex trafficking more difficult.
HEA 1071: A new law allowing protective orders to temporarily double as handgun permits in domestic violence situations will keep vulnerable Hoosiers safe. Victims can use their protective order as a handgun permit if they have applied for a handgun license, are 18 years of age and have not been convicted of a felony. The protective order is valid for a 60-day period.
SEA 479: A new law strengthening penalties against drivers accused of leaving the scene of a serious accident where there are multiple victims will help keep our roads safe. Now, hit-and-run drivers will be held accountable for every individual they seriously injure or kill in the accident.
Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws enacted this legislative session.