Federal Regulator Orders ATV Safety Review - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/09/05

Federal Regulator Orders ATV Safety Review

A top federal regulator wants a full review of ATV safety standards.

The increasing deaths of children on all terrain vehicles prompted the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the safety of four wheelers.

The federal review will include whether ATV buyers should be required to take a safety course before buying a four wheeler. Other measures include requiring dealers to distribute child injury statistics at the time of purchase.

"Children that are getting on these ATVs and getting killed have absolutely no training at all," said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd.

Sheriff Byrd says the recent tragic accident that killed two 11-year-old boys near Hurley is painful evidence about the significance of safety.

"These things can turn over very easily. They're very powerful. We've had several young people that have lost their lives simply because they're not familiar with these ATVs. And it cost them their lives," said the sheriff.

"We need to do something. How many more kids are going to die because we're not properly training them, they're not certified, they don't have proper supervision. There needs to be some new guidelines," said Harrison County Sheriff, George Payne.

Statistics from the Consumer Produce Safety Commission show children under 16 accounted for about one third of the nearly six thousand ATV deaths reported since 1982. And of those fatalities, more than 80 percent involved children on adult size ATVs.

Martin Pace is sheriff of Warren County.

"Small children that have no business being on any type of motorized vehicle in my opinion, riding four wheelers that are capable of doing 30, 40, 50 miles an hour, just have no business on them at all," he said.

Sheriff Pace says mandatory safety training is a good first step.

"But now it's like anything else. You can require that up front, but what's going to happen later is the big issue," said Pace.

The chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission called for the federal review of ATV safety just weeks after he met with a group of mothers of children killed on adult-size four wheelers.

By Steve Phillips

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