Yes, the 57 percent figure comes from the Iowa survey.
@eric: Yes, ATV manufacturers have said they could support age limits for ATVs designed for adults. But we're not seeing much of a push to make that happen in most states.
Two statistics stand out to me: 47 percent of all ATV fatalities are taking place on public roads, which is linked to the growing willingness of elected officials to open highways and county roads to off-road vehicle. And 60 percent of all ATV fatalities include a rollover, which is linked to the vehicle's design.
Way to go! I talked to a lot of riders who believe in safety and teach it to their children. I wish there were more parents like that.
I see your point. Rules are meaningless without enforcement. But we found very little enforcement of ATV laws in Minnesota. Some counties are using their state funding to buy off-road vehicles and do absolutely no patrolling.
@StevieT: Sure, in some states and counties, the lack of public trails can be an issue. Also, ATV riders love ATVs. So you can see why they might want to take the vehicles on roads. Still, lots of good reasons why they shouldn't
I’ve been very interested in what’s happening in Australia, where they call ATVs quad bikes. Australians are just about to debut a new “star” system that will offer safety ratings for ATVs. They have conducted more than 1,000 tests on around 15 ATVs, looking at such things as stability, handling and crash-worthiness. The ATVs will be given safety ratings based on stars; the more stars, the safer the machine. The rating system is expected to go public early next year.
Worth noting that the major pediatric associations say children under the age of 16 simply don't have the maturity, mental development and/or physical attributes to safely operate an ATV of any size. That's why some say training programs won't solve the problem.
In reviewing the 34 deaths, we discovered that not a single parent was criminally charged with any offense related to the accident - even when local authorities recommended charges including child neglect. When I talked to prosecutors, the common answer was: the families have suffered enough.
@ajk: That's the industry's position: all accidents are the driver's fault. But wouldn't you want a safer vehicle if it was available?
@bdsdnfam: That's an interesting position. We are not attacking the ATV industry. But we are taking on the misuse of its vehicles. I'd also ask you this question: Are there any other sacred cows you would suggest we ignore? The best way to protect freedom is through a free press.
@brian: But you can't ignore bad decisions, either. Public awareness is the goal here.
We have about five more minutes for comments and questions.
Not on their website. Here's a link:
I want to thank all of the parents who talked to me for these articles. Many of them were still dealing with their own grief, but they thought it was important to speak up so that other families could learn from their example.
@Jim: Again, the purpose of this series is to bring greater public awareness about children getting hurt or killed on ATVs. We have no other agenda.
@JeffMeitrodt: And we are also grateful to the ATV riding clubs who allowed our reporters to spend time with them. That gave us the chance to show that off-roading is a fun family activity.