Indiana ranks among the states with some of the most stringent traffic laws in the nation. Ignorance of these notoriously strict traffic regulations won’t get you out of a citation, so it’s vital to be aware of the law. Observing traffic laws in Indiana will help you avoid auto accidents, costly fines, court visits, and increased insurance premiums.
Here are the Indiana traffic laws that all drivers in the state need to know.
Traffic Laws in Indiana
As we mentioned, Indiana ranks among states in the country known for the most strict traffic laws. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety reports that Indiana meets 11 of the 15 recommended guidelines for keeping roads safe, even if it has a few head-scratching rules like not requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
Indiana reported 761,150 auto accidents in 2017. That data encapsulates nearly 4,000 deaths and over 215,000 injuries. Marion County led the state in auto accidents by an overwhelming margin, followed by Lake, Allen, Hamilton, and St. Joseph counties.
The following reasons were cited the most for auto accidents in the state:
- 39,121 accidents involved an animal or object in the road.
- 34,421 were alcohol-related crashes.
- 24,479 accidents were the result of distracted driving.
- 16,852 were speed-related.
- 4,658 accidents were because of drowsy drivers that lost focus on the road.
These are the traffic laws in Indiana that you should make yourself the most aware of to avoid serious infractions:
1. Failure to Appear/Failure to Pay
First, if you are involved in a car accident, make sure you accept responsibility, especially if you believe the accident is your fault. Never leave the scene of an accident before law enforcement arrives. Secondly, make sure you appear in court in response to any citation that is issued by law enforcement.
The failure to appear in court or to pay your fines after a judgment is rendered causes serious problems. It may even result in the suspension of your driving privileges. The state of Indiana has the power to keep suspensions indefinite until you have resolved the matter or paid for the offense.
If you are pulled over and the officer determines your license is suspended, you will be arrested for the driving infraction and face even more legal consequences. Thus, it is best to make sure you show up in court and pay your fines in a timely manner.
2. Failure to Meet Insurance Requirements
Indiana also makes the consequences of operating a motor vehicle without the proper insurance carry a stiff penalty. State law dictates that a person may not operate a motor vehicle if financial responsibility is not in effect with respect to the motor vehicle operated, or the person is not otherwise insured to operate the motor vehicle.
As a result, driving without a current liability policy that meets the minimum standards of the state is illegal. The minimum liability policy standards in Indiana are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to, or the death of, one individual.
- $50,000 for bodily injury to, or death of, two or more people in any one accident; and
- $25,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Indiana refers to this type of liability insurance as 25/50/25. The state penalizes uninsured drivers severely to try to prevent a situation in which an uninsured driver kills or critically injures another passenger or driver/passengers of a second vehicle.
3. Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV)
Indiana has a Habitual Traffic Violator law, which is often shortened to HTV. There are severe penalties for drivers that repeatedly commit traffic offenses over a 10-year period. The BMV has criteria to determine whether a driver qualifies as an HTV.
A Habitual Traffic Violator is any person who, within ten years, accumulates two judgments that result in injury or death. Criminal offenses like reckless homicide resulting from operating a vehicle or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated contribute to being classified as an HTV. Habitual Traffic Violators may receive extremely harsh driving suspensions as a result.
4. Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated
Traffic laws in Indiana are quite clear for motorists who decide to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers for whom a judge found probable cause while he or she was operating a vehicle while intoxicated may face a suspension of driving privileges.
For example, a motorist who fails a chemical test may have his or her driving license suspended for up to 180 days. Furthermore, a motorist who refuses to submit to a chemical test may face a suspension of driving privileges for up to two years. The suspension is often longer for repeat offenders. Lastly, the courts may order that an ignition interlock device is put into the vehicle for a designated length of time.
Contact Stewart & Stewart for Help With Your Auto Accident Case
Stewart & Stewart has a proven track record of success when it comes to auto accident cases. We are knowledgeable about the traffic laws in Indiana and will put our considerable years of experience to work for you. Contact us today at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or reach out online to talk to one of our experienced attorneys.