Posey Sheriff answers questions about new helmet safety law

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On July 1, an Indiana law was passed requiring anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while traveling on an off-road vehicle.

The law states that “an individual less than eighteen (18) years of age who is operating or riding on an off-road vehicle shall wear a helmet that meets the DOT standards.”  

The new law applies to all minors riding on both public and private land.

The Posey County Sheriff’s Department is spreading awareness about the legislation, and has supplied answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Does the helmet law apply to side by sides and UTVs?

Yes, the law pertains to all vehicles that are designed for cross country and off-road travel.

If I place a child in a car seat, does the helmet law still apply?

Yes, the use of a car seat does not exclude a child, under age 18 from wearing a helmet when riding in or on an off-road vehicle.

Does the helmet law apply to an ATV being used for farming purposes?

When used for “farm purposes” the helmet law does not apply, however the law does apply when the vehicle is used for something other than “farming purposes”

Does the helmet law apply to golf carts?

Golf carts are excluded from this law and no helmet is required.

Does my child need to wear a helmet when on a motorized mini-bike or dirt-bike?

Yes, the law applies to all vehicles specifically designed for off-road travel, excluding golf-carts.

Is a helmet required when my child is operating or riding on a go-cart?

Yes, this law also applies to go-carts.

Does the helmet law apply to battery operated toy machines?

The law applies to any machine that is designed for cross-country travel.  It includes certain battery-operated machines, but the common toy machines that are only capable of slow “back yard” type travel are not considered off road vehicles and helmets are not required for them.

Who is responsible if a violation is found by an officer?

The operator of any vehicle is ultimately responsible for any violation, including the failure of the operator to wear a helmet.  However, the new law also allows the adult that is responsible for the ATV to be cited for the offense.    

Are Jeeps, trucks, crawlers, dune buggies or similar vehicles included on this list?

If a vehicle is unregistered through the BMV and designed for the purpose of cross-country off-road travel, it is within the definition that requires a helmet for all occupants under the age of 18.

“We want every person that is operating an off-road vehicle to educate themselves on the procedures of safe operation,” said Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth. “As public safety officials, our ultimate goal is always to reduce the unnecessary occurrence of injury or death.”  

Call the Sheriff’s Office at 812-838-3541 if you have questions about the new helmet law.