Bacon: Keeping Hoosier riders safe on UTVs

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, December 21, 2018 3:57 pm

Many Hoosiers in our area and across the state enjoy driving and exploring on all-terrain vehicles like four wheelers, dirt bikes and UTVs. While using these vehicles can be fun, it is important to take safety precautions. For the upcoming legislative session, I plan to author a bill to help keep Indiana residents safe while using UTVs.

In 2017, I co-authored Kate’s Law requiring helmets for those under the age of 18 operating an off-road vehicle, unless for agricultural purposes. This law raises awareness about the dangers of these vehicles and helps save lives. In 2016, there were 23 deaths resulting from off-road vehicle accidents. Since the law was enacted, there have been no ATV-related deaths in Hoosier children under the age of 18.

Although the current law seems to be saving young lives, there are still improvements to be made. Members of the community voiced concerns regarding seatbelts on UTVs. UTVs are off-road vehicles that can usually carry from 2 to 6 passengers. Many injuries related to UTV use are a result of seatbelts not being worn. I am proposing requiring seatbelts to be worn on UTVs when off private property to protect drivers and passengers from possible injuries resulting from turnovers or crashes.

Parents in the area also want to take their children out on UTVs safely. For young Hoosiers needing child booster seats in cars, it is unsafe to ride on one of these vehicles with only a seatbelt and helmet. Under the proposed legislation, children would need to use a booster seat, like the kind they would use in a car, to ride on a UTV. There would also be certain specifications and standards a child’s helmet would need to meet to ensure they are well-protected.

Southwest Indiana has a lot of great places to explore on ATVs and UTVs, but it’s important to stay safe while doing so. As we approach the start of a new session, I encourage you to continue contacting my office with any questions or input at 317-232-9643 or h75@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

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