Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, as well as other safety groups, are urging states to implement more highway safety laws. Among those states is Indiana, which, according to a new national report, is lagging when it comes to preventing fatal traffic accidents.
Motorcycle helmet laws
One law the Hoosier state hasn't implemented is all-rider motorcycle helmet laws. Only riders under age 18 and those with learner's permits must wear helmets. In 2017, Indiana had a total of 3,131 motorcycle collisions and 144 deaths - up from 100 deaths in 2016. Approximately 89 of the riders who were killed were reportedly not wearing helmets.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most effective method for preventing motorcycle deaths is for states to implement universal helmet laws. Moreover, the CDC estimates that helmets saved 1,859 lives, and could have saved another 802 lives, in 2016. Helmets have the potential to reduce the risk of a head injury by 69 percent and the risk of death by 37 percent.
Restrictions for teen drivers
Indiana also doesn't implement Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws protecting teenage drivers and other road users. These laws include:
- Minimum age to obtain a learner's permit at 16
- Minimum age to obtain an unrestricted license at 18
- Stronger restrictions for driving at night
According to the National Safety Council (NSC) roughly half of all teen drivers will be involved in at least one traffic accident before graduating high school. This is primarily due to inexperience and mistakes made while learning how to navigate different roadways and adjust to various situations.
Child safety laws
Also missing from the books in Indiana are two crucial laws that protect young children:
- Requiring children to be seated in rear-facing car seats until age 2
- Requiring booster seats
Rear-facing car seats protect children under age 2 by supporting the head, neck and spine and absorbing crash force in a way that minimizes the likelihood of death by five times. Safe Seats 4 Kids suggests keeping children rear-facing at least until age 2 in order to prevent head, neck, and/or spinal cord injuries in a collision.
Young children who have outgrown rear-facing seats should also be placed in booster seats until they reach 4 feet 9 inches and within the age range of 8 to 12. This is because most children won't fit into seat belts without a booster seat.
Ignition interlocks for DUI offenders
When someone gets behind the wheel after having too much to drink, they often put others' lives at risk. In 2017, the United States saw a total of 10,874 traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving. Approximately 220 people lost their lives that year in Indiana.
While police do their best to keep convicted drunk drivers off Indiana roads, some of these drivers may end up reoffending. This is because the state doesn't have a law in place requiring DUI/OWI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles after the first offense. This law applies only after an offender is arrested a second time - putting potentially more lives at risk.
When the law can't protect you, our attorneys can help
Whether or not these traffic safety laws will be implemented in Indiana, drivers still have a responsibility to drive safely. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash due to someone else's negligence, you need a knowledgeable and highly skilled auto accident attorney on your side.
Look no further than Vaughan & Vaughan, located in Lafayette. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.