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Advocates push for better Indiana highway safety laws

Posted: 7:00 PM, Jan 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-24 19:00:59-05

INDIANAPOLIS — In order to reduce crashes on the roads, advocates for Highway & Auto Safety and other groups are pushing for more highway safety laws.

A new national report says Indiana has some serious work to do to reduce deadly road crashes.

One of law advocates are pushing for, would add a motorcycle helmet law. Here in Indiana, riders and passengers only under 18 are required to wear a helmet.

"The big thing is protecting you from brain damage," Harley Davidson Dealer Principal, David Dellen, said. "If something does happen, the helmet is designed to make sure that lessens the chances that happens."

Harley Davidson in Fishers offers several kinds of helmets and teaches new riders in their classes about the benefits of wearing one.

"Most of us have helmets because they are required in other states," said a Pendelton resident, Donna Gregg. "But where it's not required, we don't wear them. And that should be our choice."

Some riders still feel it should be left up to them. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017. Nearly 40 percent of them were not wearing a helmet.

They say age-specific laws like Indiana's are virtually impossible for police officers to enforce.

On the other side of town, a couple is learning how to safely install rear facing car seats for their soon to be arriving twin boys. Another safety law, some would like to enhance.

"Slip off the road, icy conditions, any kind of weather conditions," an Indianapolis parent, Aaron Smith said. "Anything could happen out there, you never know."

"They are five times less likely to sustain a major injury and death when they're rear facing," Indianapolis Fire Department Public Education Director, Captain Aleatha Henderson, said.

As it stands now, children under the age of one, that are less than 20 pounds, are required to use a rear-facing child safety seat.

But the IFD - as other health organizations - recommends keeping infants and toddlers rear-facing at least until two years old.

"What the law will do is just the minimum standard and so we are happy that the legislation now is trying to increase that to two years old," Captain Henderson said.

Whether it's enforced or not, Smith says he'll keep his babies safe.

"Till two years old. Even though it's not state law? Even though it's not state law. Till two years old."

The IFD also offers free classes on how to properly install car seats, as well as providing a parent a free car seat if eligible.

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