A bill requiring children under 18 to wear a helmet when riding all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, now awaits Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature. The House approved Senate amendments Tuesday.
The Senate amended the bill to make it clear who would be cited by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources if a child rides an ATV without a helmet. The change mirrors current Indiana boating laws.
Bill author Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R- Leavenworth) applauds the change, but says the real goal is to create awareness.
“So hopefully, now at a dealer when someone goes and buys an ATV and it’s for one of their children, a dealer now can say, ‘Hey, I wanted to let you know it’s Indiana state law that anybody under the age of 18 needs to wear a helmet,’” Arnold says. “And that’s really where we want to take it and get people in the habit of wearing helmets to keep them safe.”
The bill, known as the “Play for Kate Bill,” is moving forward following a fatal accident Monday involving a seven year old girl in Posey County. Authorities say the child was seated between her 37-year-old mother and a 39-year-old woman who was driving the ATV. The DNR says all three weren’t wearing helmets. DNR officials say 2016 marked the deadliest year on record for ATV accidents.
An Indiana mom began pushing for the helmet legislation after her daughter Kate Bruggenschmidt died in an ATV accident in 2015. Legislators are planning for Gov. Holcomb to sign the bill at Kate’s elementary school in Newburgh, so her family and friends can be present.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.