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Bill requiring children to wear helmets on off-road vehicles headed to governor

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

A ten-year-old boy, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, is recovering tonight after an off-road vehicle accident left him with stitches on his head. Come next week, that could be illegal.

“A ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old were operating an off-road vehicle on the road, without the consent of their parents,” said Indiana Conservation Officer, Jonathon Boyd.

Riding off-road vehicles on the road is already illegal in St. Joseph County.

“Made a tight turn, the off-road vehicle rolled several times and luckily, they just left with some stitches. It could have been far worse. Neither of them were wearing helmets,” said Officer Boyd.

With one signature, the governor could also make it illegal for minors to ride in off-road vehicles without helmets.

Congress passed House Bill 1200 earlier this week.

If you want to legally ride an ATV in St. Joseph County, you can do so on designated trails or on private property.

If the bill is signed into law, Officer Boyd says it’s important to make sure you buy a properly fitting helmet with the DOT designation on the back.

That stands for Department of Transportation.

The penalty for not complying with the law could be a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.

Conservation Officer Jonathon Boyd, however, cares about safety above all else, and it’s for a very personal reason.

“I was involved in a bad snowmobiling accident years ago when I was kid, not knowing better, but my parents provided me with all the proper equipment, so when I did have that accident and had a collision, my helmet had cracked from the top to the back, and it actually saved my life,” he said.

“As you know, warm weather, people get out and try to recreate, utilize their natural resources, and that’s when conservation officers tend to be at their busiest. Today was a lucky day,” said Officer Boyd.

The governor has until the middle of next week to sign the bill, or it automatically becomes law.

Check back in with ABC 57 for updates on the bill’s progress.

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