ATV Safety in question - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

ATV Safety in question

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The death of Jackson attorney Precious Martin brings questions about ATV safety. This time every year, doctors see an increase in these ATV mishaps.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center Trauma Director Dr. John Porter is on the front line for patients whose ATV rides have gone wrong.

"The unfortunate thing is that we call them accidents but really they're not accidents because you can't prevent an accident, most of the things in trauma we can prevent," explained Porter.

Porter thinks folks would take more time for safety if they realized just how severe the trauma linked to an ATV can be. There can be a long list of injuries, some worse than others.

"Rib fractures will heal," said Porter. "You'll be in a lot of pain but they'll heal. A punctured lung heals. Brains are very tricky and complex. They don't heal all that well."

That's why the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi lobbied to have stronger laws back in 2011. The result is a law that requires anyone 15 and younger to take a safety course and wear a helmet if riding on public property.

"People should just use common sense," said Dana Pierce with the Brain Injury Association. "I think that's just what it's all about. It's just like a seat belt, use common sense. Put on your seat belt, it saves lives. Helmets save lives. prevention's the only cure."

It's too soon to know how Precious Martin and his son were riding their ATV and what precautions they took. However, Mud Predators ATV says the labels are right in front of every rider's face, regardless of age.

"They're made for gravel, dirt and mud," said Mud Predators' employee Tate White. "You don't need to have them on asphalt."

Law-enforcement says you can get a ticket because ATVs aren't inspected vehicles with license plates. A ticket could be the least of your problems if you wind up hurt.

"They ask not to ride but one," White said. "But I mean, everybody piles up on them and people end up falling off or it'll flip over."

Dr. John Porter is ready and waiting.

"The old saying is that trauma is like baseball season," Porter explained. "So when baseball starts, the weather gets nice, trauma goes up."

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