From the rugged trails of West Virginia to the sand dunes in southern California, the sound of all-terrain vehicles in action can be heard across the country. However, in many communities, it is news accounts of tragic incidents being heard. To reduce the number of deaths and injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is leading a major campaign to educate riders young and old on the safe use of ATVs.
At a news conference today, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord stated, "ATVs are not toys, especially adult ATVs, which can travel at 60 miles per hour and weigh up to 800 pounds. Children should only ride youth model ATVs – there have been too many children killed while driving or riding as a passenger on adult ATVs."
Joining Acting Chairman Nord were National 4-H Council CEO and President Donald Floyd and NASCAR Racing Legend Richard Petty.
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 over the past decade. From 1982 through 2004, there were nearly 6,500 deaths involving ATVs. In 2004 alone, an estimated 136,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ATV related injuries – many life-altering. In 2003, an estimated 740 people died nationwide in ATV incidents. About 30 percent of all deaths and injuries involve children younger than 16.
CPSC's campaign includes: new television and radio public service announcements; the creation of www.ATVSafety.gov, a new Web site for riders, parents, trainers, local and state officials, and the media; use of CPSC's Neighborhood Safety Network; and partnering with organizations and officials dedicated to promoting ATV safety.
CPSC is encouraging all riders to "take knowledge to the extreme" by participating in a training course and following our core rules for safe riding: 1) never allow a child to operate or ride on an adult size ATV, 2) always wear a helmet and protective gear, 3) never ride tandem on a one-person ATV, 4) never ride on paved roads, and 5) never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While CPSC believes that there would be a decline in deaths and injuries if riders followed these safe riding practices, the agency has also proposed new rules to make riding safer. These include:
- Banning 3-wheeled ATVs, which present three times the risk of injury compared to 4-wheel ATVs and have re-emerged through the import market, Internet and secondhand dealers;
- Making the current voluntary standard mandatory, which would require all ATVs to meet U.S. safety standards;
- Calling for three models of youth ATVs instead of two and setting speed limitations for each youth model;
- Requiring retailers to offer free training to all ATV purchasers and members of their immediate family;
- Requiring retailers to provide a written form to purchasers warning against the use of adult ATVs by children and giving death and injury statistics related to children riding adult ATVs.
The public has until October 24, 2006 to provide comments to the CPSC concerning our proposed rules. Comments can be e-mailed to: email@example.com
ATV's are growing in popularity and the knowledge on their safe use must grow as well. The CPSC is committed to doing its part – consumers, parents, manufacturers and retailers must do theirs as well. By taking knowledge to the extreme, all ATV riders can go down a fun, yet safer path.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of
thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the
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