ATV Safety Training Helps Prevent Tragedies

Stefen L. Givens  |  3/7/2011 10:19:08 PM

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are not toys. Serious injury can result from improper use of ATVs, but with preparation and practice, one can safely develop and expand good riding skills.

Over the past decade the number of four-wheel ATVs in use in the United States has increased from just over 2 million to more than 6.9 million. With this increase in the number of ATVs, the number of deaths and injuries has also skyrocketed.

By December 31, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported 10,281 ATV-related deaths that occurred between 1982 and 2009. Of these fatalities, 26 percent were children younger than 16 years of age. Sadly, 43 percent of these ATV-related child fatalities were children younger than 12 years of age.

In 2009 alone, the CPSC reported 131,900 ATV-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments. Of the 131,900 estimated ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries, 32,400 of these were children younger than 16 years of age.

A recent survey revealed that 70 percent of St. Helena youth owned an ATV or had access to one they rode and 22 percent of these students reported being involved in an ATV crash. These statistics prove the need for an educational program concentrated around ATV safety for youth and adults alike.

For these reasons, the February, March and April 4-H club meetings will be focused around ATV safety. All 4-H’ers who will be participating in the riding portion must have with them proper riding clothing and a parental release form before they will be allowed to ride.

Proper ATV safety training teaches drivers how to handle multiple off-road riding situations while reducing the risk of crashes. Riding ATVs can be an enjoyable form of outdoor recreation when done properly.

For more information on ATV safety and riders' courses, contact Stefen Givens.

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