ATV Safety

This week in Desoto, Missouri, a 12-year old girl was killed in an ATV accident when she was thrown from the vehicle.  She was driving a tandem ATV with a passenger and was not wearing a seatbelt or helmet.

Even though the number of annual ATV-related accidents is trending downward, it is still important to review ATV safety procedures.  This is especially true since a large number of injuries and fatalities affect children under the age of 16.

Follow and share these rules of the trail in order to make safety a part of the plan for every ride:

Do not drive ATVs on paved roads

While ATVs can reach highway speeds, their low tire pressure and high rollover risk make them extremely dangerous to operate on paved roads.  In fact, most ATV fatalities occur on paved roads.  Generally ATVs are prohibited from paved roads, but there are exceptions that allow ATVs to cross paved roads or ride along side paved roads in certain areas – which makes enforcing the paved road laws difficult.

Do no allow children under the age of 16 to drive an ATV

Most teens under the age of 16 lack the physical and intellectual maturity to operate a vehicle, for this reason the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents that no child under the age of 16 should operate an ATV.  Each state chooses whether or not to set age requirements for ATV use and there is no single rule which all 50 states have in common.  Click here to see a list of ATV safety laws by state.

Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirt

As with age operation requirements, ATV helmet requirements also vary widely by state.  Riders and passengers should always wear a helmet when riding an ATV.

Take a hands-on safety training course

All adults and children 16 years of age and older who want to operate ATVs should take a hands-on ATV safety course to learn proper riding techniques, trail etiquette, paved road rules, care and maintenance, and proper towing procedures.


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