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Many West Virginians are avid ATV riders. People use ATVs and UTVs for personal use around the house and for recreational activities. Unfortunately, many ATV riders in West Virginia are children. Combining the inexperience of youth with an ATV can be deadly.
Nationwide, ATVs kill or seriously injury over 40,000 children under the age of 16 every year. The following statistics highly a serious problem and the costs to families and society about kids and ATVs:
· Between 1995 and 2005, ATVs killed at least 1,218 children under the age of 16. These children make up 27 percent of all ATV related deaths.
· Over the past 10 years, the number of children killed in off-road vehicle wrecks increased by 88%.
· Over the past 10 years, the number of children hospitalized as a result of an ATV accident increased by 109%.
· Children under 16 accounted for 30% of all off-road vehicle injuries in 2005.
· The injury risk for children drivers is much higher than for drivers over 16 years of age.
· The Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that 9% of injuries children receive from ATVs result in hospitalization compared to 2% of injuries caused by over 15,000 other consumer products.
· ATV driving has the highest risk of hospitalization of 33 sports and activities in which children routinely participate.
· Child ATV deaths and associated financial costs increased from $493 million in 1999 to $723 million in 2003.
Doctors believe that ATVs and Kids don’t mix
· The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons have adopted formal policies recommending that children under the age of 16 should not drive ATVs
· The American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Laws should prohibit the use of ATVs, on- or off-road, by children and adolescents younger than 16 years. An automobile driver’s license, and preferably some additional certification in ATV use, should be required to operate an ATV. The safe use of ATVs requires the same or greater skill, judgment, and experience as needed to operate an automobile.
Know the Laws in West Virginia
· ATV drivers and riders under the age of 18 must be provided with a helmet.
· ATV operators under the age of 18 must go through a certified ATV driving course prior to being able to legally operate an ATV.
ATV and UTVs can provide great enjoyment for the driver and rider. Unfortunately, children, as inexperienced drivers, often cause serious harm to themselves and others when not properly trained on how to ride an ATV. If you or a loved one has been injured by an ATV accident, contact us today for help.