With child deaths on all-terrain vehicles on the rise in Georgia, lawmakers are trying to find ways to help prevent them from happening at all. A bill has been introduced that will change the rules for those who operate ATV's.
Five children were killed on all-terrain vehicles in Georgia last fall all between the ages of 10 and 13. Lawmakers say requiring license plates for the vehicle will ban children from riding illegally on public property.
"I think it's ridiculous to license the vehicle. Putting tags on off road vehicles just will not work they are totally confused about what they are trying to do," says Rusty Sampson.
The bill puts ATV's in the same category as motorcycles, allowing those 16 and up to get behind the wheel only with a safety helmet.
ATV dealers say the bill is total contradiction. These vehicles already come with warnings restricting those under 16 years of age, also riding with multiple passengers and driving on the highway.
"I don't think they should be allowed on roads at anytime. I think they need to come up with a plan for operators due to how dangerous they are, you see a lot of young kids on them," says Ronald Sellers.
Sampson says the bill will only create more problems for kids over 16 driving ATV's on highways. He says it’s parents that need to take on more responsibility.
"Buy a helmet, if you're going to let a child ride ATVs buy a helmet you make them wear them when they ride a bicycle," says Rusty.
ATV dealers do adhere to strict guidelines when selling the vehicles, including informing buyers about safety precautions and not selling to those under 16.
All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) Safety
- Three-wheeled ATVs have unique handling characteristics. Beginning riders should get professional instruction and certification. Practice first on a level area, then in a more difficult but controlled environment, before riding an ATV in rough or unfamiliar terrain.
- Injury investigations show that the majority of accidents occur when the ATV unexpectedly encounters an obstacle, such as a rock or ditch. Do not exceed speeds that are safe for the terrain you are traveling.
- For several ATVs, the only suspension provided on the machine is the low pressure (two psi to six psi) balloon tires. Excessive speed, combined with rough terrain, can create enough pitch and bounce to cause the operator to lose control of the vehicle. Models with factory-built suspension systems are more stable and controllable over rough terrain.
- Always wear an approved protective helmet and other protective gear.
- Three-wheeled ATVs are designed for one rider. DO NOT ride double.
- Do not operate ATVs when using alcoholic beverages.
- Always read the instruction manual and follow the manufacturer’s guidance for use, maintenance and pre-use checks.
- Do not use ATVs on paved roads or streets.
- Observe local laws or regulations and any regulations that have been established for public recreational areas where ATV use is permitted.
- Since ATVs are relatively small and low to the ground, they are difficult to see. Use lights, reflectors and flags to improve visibility.
Proper Riding Posture
- Keep your head and eyes up, looking forward.
- Shoulders should be relaxed, with elbows bent slightly.
- Keep your hands on the handlebars; knees in toward the gas tank.
- Feet should be on the footrests, toes pointing straight ahead.
Recommended Sizes for Age
- Less than 70 cc: Six-years and older
- 70-90 cc: Twelve-years and older
- More than 90 cc: Sixteen-years and older
Source: www.cpsc.gov (Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site) has contributed to this report.