By Taylor Brown
INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would require those 18 and younger to wear a helmet while riding an ATV is one step closer to becoming a law.
House Bill 1200 passed out of Roads and Transportation committee Wednesday with a 12-1 vote.
The author of the bill, Rep. Lloyd Arnold, R-Leavenworth, said the purpose of this legislation is to reduce the deaths of ATV-related deaths in Indiana.
“This issue hits close to home in southern Indiana and I am thankful for the support of my colleagues as we try to raise awareness about the safety measures that should be taken by children and adults alike,” Arnold said in a statement.
For Ashlee Brunggenschmidt, a mother who lost her 11-year-old daughter Kate in an ATV accident, the bill passing out of committee means hope.
“I hope that another child doesn’t lose their life on an ATV. I hope that another family doesn’t have to go through the trauma and the loss that we’ve experience,” Brunggenschmidt said.
According to Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources, ATV fatalities are on the rise. In 2016, there were 21 deaths from off-road vehicles accidents. That is 16 more than the previous year, and an increase of 13 from 2014.
Currently, state parks and facilities require all ATV riders, regardless of age, to wear a helmet while operating the vehicle. However, that requirement doesn’t extend to riders on private property. If this bill becomes law, it would require those under the age of 18 to wear helmet while on an ATV regardless of the location.
Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, was the only one who voted against the bill. Culver said he was against how it mandates how people operate ATVs on private property.
The bill now moves to the House for further review.
Taylor Brown is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.