Government, industry work to raise ATV safety issue - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Government, industry work to raise ATV safety issue

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September 25, 2006

Valdosta - When police work an ATV related accident, it's usually not a pretty sight.  "We've worked a few ATV accidents and almost every times it's serious injury or death involved," says Sgt. Earl Durrance of the Valdosta Police Department.

In fact, statistics show 30% of the estimated 740 ATV related deaths in 2003 were children.  Most of these deaths occurred when children ride adult size ATV's.

With the start of hunting season and cooler weather, local retailers have seen an increase in ATV sales. And with that spike in sales, retailers want to ensure the rider's safety, especially children.  "We always recommend a helmet. The ATV is not a babysitter. They still have to watch their child," says Ray Hedgecock, owner of Powerhouse Outdoor Equipment.

To avoid an accident, make sure your children are riding the properly marked ATV.  This small ATV is made for children between the ages of 6 and 12. It includes many safety features and it's top speed is about 25 miles per hour.

Now compare that to this adult size ATV. Almost three times it's size, it can weigh up to 800 pounds and speeds excess 70 miles per hour.

And when children and more than one passenger get on these vehicles, it could spell disaster.  "You put four or five people on these things and that's when accidents happen," Hedgecock adds.

Police and retailers say the best way to ensure a safe ride for you and your children is to follow all safety instructions and labels on the ATV.The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says they expect statistics on ATV related deaths for 2004-2005 in the next few weeks.

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