Rep. Olthoff: Personal story emphasizes roadside safety

Rep. Olthoff: Personal story emphasizes roadside safety

Posted by: Brandi Klingerman  | Monday, January 4, 2016

Personal story emphasizes roadside safety

Nearly two years ago, Riley Knight pulled over to help Linda Darlington out of a ditch where her car went off the road in Crown Point. This selfless act became a tragedy when both Knight and Darlington were struck and killed by oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, this incident is not rare, as a similar accident took place this past August in our community.

Recently, I received a letter from Maya Toma, an 11-year-old student from Crown Point. She is friends with Knight’s child and has seen firsthand how his family has suffered. Toma wrote me a letter about her idea of encouraging the public to keep two reflective vests in their cars in order to be more visible to traffic if and when they leave their cars.

After receiving her letter, I reached out to Toma to discuss the best way to share her idea with the public and potentially save the lives of others. Together, we drafted new guidelines to be incorporated into Indiana’s 2016 Bureau of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual. When the 2016 manual is published this month, a section discussing roadside emergency situations will provide a variety of guidelines to help drivers be more visible to traffic on the road, especially in situations where they are required to exit their vehicles.

Toma’s idea may have come from personal experience, but her position is supported by current safety practices in Indiana. In fact, road construction workers, emergency personnel, police and crossing guards are each required to wear reflective vests to protect themselves when working on or near roadways. Asking Hoosier drivers to travel with reflective vests is another way to keep everyone safer on our roads.

As a legislator, it is always beneficial to receive suggestions or ideas from constituents. If you have input for possible new policies, I encourage you to contact me by mail at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204; by phone at 317-232-9850; or by email at

Another way to share your opinions is by responding to my legislative survey by visiting This session, lawmakers will be addressing a variety of issues ranging from transportation to education, and your input is vital to the legislative process. I appreciate any time you set aside to offer feedback, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Rep. Olthoff represents portions of Lake and Porter counties.