By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
With summer officially here, outdoor activities are on the rise. CBS news correspondent, Susan Koeppen, conducted an investigation on children usage of adult-sized, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated in the month of April, ATVs were the cause of 40 deaths, 12 of those deaths were children under 16-years-old. In May, 13 children under 16 were killed and the death rate is expected to increase as the summer continues.
ATVs are dangerous, they can reach speeds of more than 50 mph. For example, Kyle Rabe was killed in an ATV accident at the age of 10. Rabe’s death was speculated to be caused by the ATV hitting a rut, tipping over sideways and landing on the child. Rabe started riding ATVs when he was just 3-years-old; by the age of 8, he was riding adult-sized ATVs. According to the Concerned Families, started by Kyle Rabe’s mother, Sue Rabe, for ATV Safety roughly 100 children under 16-years-old are killed annually by ATVs, and 40,000 are injured. Many of these accidents involve children riding adult-sized ATVs.
The warning signs are there, but they are consistently ignored – especially by dealerships. The Government Accountability Office found 7 out of 10 dealers willing to sell adult-sized ATVs even though they knew the ATV was intended to be used by a child. During and “Early Show” investigation, 5 out of 10 dealers were willing to sell large ATVs even though the dealer was told the ATV was being bought for a 14-year-old.
The ATV industry has proposed model legislation that would require training courses, proper gear, and forbid child use of adult-sized ATVs. The training course have been made available; ATV manufacturers are now required to offer free courses through the dealership where the ATV is being bought from. To read more this topic see Dangers of ATVs.
Parents and caretakers have an obligation to protect their children. Children should not be allowed to use an adult-sized ATV without being accompanied by an adult or licensed driver. Children should be aware of the proper way to operate an ATV and take advantage of the mandatory training courses. The number of child deaths caused by ATV accidents are too high. With proper supervision and enforcement of rules and safety measures, hopefully we will see a decrease in the number of child deaths.