Danza Johnson’s and Lena Mitchell’s graphic and necessarily disturbing articles in Sunday’s Journal powerfully addressed the main reasons 11 people have died in Lee, Itawamba and Union counties in ATV accidents so far in 2009.
ATV and RUVs (a larger version of off-road four-wheelers ) numbering close to 10 million nationwide, like other motor-powered transportation, are dangerous if not safely used.
The ATV phenomenon is popular with all age groups across the nation.
Like cars and trucks, however, if pushed by drivers beyond their safety limits, the strong potential for dangerous, even deadly, situations is created.
Off-road four-wheelers by definition appeal to a spirit of adventure and, honestly speaking, risk. It’s part of the thrill, but keeping adventure in balance with safety is necessary.
Riding ATVs and similar vehicles on public roads is illegal – for good reason. Many ATV drivers aren’t licensed auto and truck drivers, which compounds the risk. Roads are designed for fast-moving traffic, mostly enclosed vehicles.
The shoulders of roads, similarly aren’t meant as a road for anything, but too often become a dangerous route for four-wheelers.
The magnitude of loss and grief related to ATV accidents led to nationwide organizations promoting ATV/RUV safety.
One group, Concerned Families for ATV Safety, was formed by three mothers who lost children in ATV accidents. It is open to all people concerned with ATV safety issues. The Website is www.atvsafetynet.org/stories.php.
The organizers quickly made contact with 40,000 families a year who lost children or have children who suffered serious injury related to ATVs.
The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute® (ASI) is a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America® (SVIA), and since 1988 has offered all-terrain vehicle safety education and awareness. The extensive Website – http://www.atvsafety.org/ASI’s – offers free information and on-line courses, plus contact with the closest for-fee on-site safety training.
The Website www.atvsafety.gov is the official site of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency.
Its advice includes no operation of full-size ATVs by children under age 16.
More than 270 people have been killed in ATV accidents in Mississippi since the mid-1980s, and it’s thought that the toll is actually much higher because not all deaths have been accurately reported.
Ride ATV’s for fun, but above everything, ride safely.