For decades, non-fatal injuries and fatalities related to automobile accidents were on a downward trend in Indiana. However, since 2014, they have been rising. New traffic laws, in effect on July 1, 2018, seek to reverse this trend and make the roads safer for all who travel the state’s roadways.
Indiana Takes a Proactive Approach
In 2017, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the Indiana University Public Policy Institute collaborated with analyzing data from the Indiana State Police to produce the Indiana Crash Facts 2016 report. This report found that 223,733 collisions occurred during 2016 that resulted in 821 fatalities and 52,591 non-fatal injuries.
The goal of this study was to identify the major factors causing collisions and what steps, could be done to reduce accidents. Focus was placed on various causes for accidents, including: inexperienced drivers, seatbelt use, alcohol-impaired driving, and speed-related collisions.
Savannah’s Law Set to Save Lives
In 2015, high school student Savannah Bettis was killed in a car crash that occurred after both she and her boyfriend, the driver were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. The vehicle’s malfunctioning exhaust system circulated odorless carbon monoxide gas that reached dangerous levels that caused both to pass out. From this tragedy, Senate Enrolled Act 100, aka Savannah’s Law, sponsored by State Representative Woody Burton was signed into law on June 5, 2018.
As of July 1, 2018, Indiana car owners can voluntarily have their vehicles tested for carbon monoxide leaks at their local fire departments. This free 10-minute test can save lives and help prevent tragic car accidents.
Senate Bill 266 Addresses Car Lighting
Signed into law on March 21, a new law concerning the color of headlights, signal lights and brake lights. Beginning on July 1, 2018:
- Headlights on all vehicles, including motorcycles, may only produce white or amber-colored light
- Rear signal lamps must only use red or amber lights.
- All vehicles, with the exception of those manufactured before January 1, 1956, and motorcycles must have two red brake lists
This new law does not put restrictions on additional lighting, including underbody, accent or underbody lights.
Indiana has taken a proactive approach to their goal to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries in their state. This new legislation with a focus on vehicle safety works toward that goal to prevent tragedies.