All-terrian vehicles (ATV’s) can be a lot of fun, but can also be very dangerous. Injuries and deaths can be caused by: not having proper safety equipment, riding incorrectly, riding in unsafe places or conditions, and letting children ride adult-size ATV’s. Before you ride, make sure you are aware of the hazards, and the rules and regulations in place.
In South Carolina, despite “the best efforts of state and federal regulators and industry leaders to reduce accidents and deaths and protect ATV riders through rules and education,” the number of deaths from ATV’s accidents remains steady.(PostandCourier.com) During the years 1999 to 2008, there were 104 ATV-related deaths in South Carolina. Between 2009 and 2018, there were 106. During those same time periods, there has been a decline in the number of ATV-related deaths nationwide.
In 2011, South Carolina passed Chandler’s Law, which put “minimum age requirements in place for ATV ridership and mandated safety training for riders under 15.” The law also requires youth under 16 to wear a helmet and eye protection. Chandler Saylor, a 16-year old from Swansea, SC was killed in May of 2003 while riding an ATV at a friend’s birthday party.(thetandd.com)
Even after Chandler’s Law was passed, the number of ATV-related deaths have not declined in South Carolina; and approximately 6 of those who die from ATV-related injuries each year are children.(SCDHEC.gov)
Authorities say with the population increasing in South Carolina and more people riding ATV’s, simply following the rules of ridership and heeding safety warnings can prevent further deaths.
Tom Yager, vice president of the ATV Safety Institute suggests following the Safety Institute’s 8 Golden Rules to prevent injury and death when riding ATV’s:
- “Always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads, except to cross safely and where allowed by law.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, or more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16.
- Only ride on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Take a hands-on ATV safety course: ATVsafety.org or call 1-800-887-2887.
Yager says, “It boils down to adherence to the golden rules. It’s when you don’t have that when the problems occur.”
Go riding and have fun; just be safe!
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