Cars Aren’t the Only Four-Wheelers Kids Want to Drive
Despite efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of children and teens driving ATVs, a significant number of life-threatening ATV accidents happen every year. Across the nation, the months of June and July have the highest number of ATV-related deaths.
Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows children do not have the physical and mental capabilities needed to safely operate complex vehicles. Recently, a number of young children and teens have suffered fatal ATV-related injuries. In 2010, approximately 55 children under the legal driving age of 16 died after ATV accidents. According to estimates, roughly 20,000 school-aged children are seriously injured while driving all-terrain vehicles each year.
Teens and younger children aren't the only groups that are at risk. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old male suffered severe injuries after he was trapped under his ATV for 11 excruciating hours. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued warnings that publicize the dangers of off-road vehicles. In fact, the CPSC reports that ATVs are the fifth deadliest product the agency regulates. Using consumer injury reports, the CPSC estimates that roughly 700 people die in ATV-related accidents each year, and as many as 136,000 people receive emergency medical care for ATV-related injuries annually.
Operating ATVs safely
Even adults need to be careful when operating ATVs. To stay safe, drivers must wear helmets and should never operate ATVs on public roads. It's also advised that drivers refrain from riding with passengers. All ATVs are color-coded by size, speed, and engine power. If teens must drive an ATV, it needs to be the appropriate size. Furthermore, children under the age of 16 should never drive ATVs due to the inherent dangers of young riders suffering minor injuries or sustaining a fatal accident.