Since 2012, 1,285 people in Indiana have died in ATV-related accidents and the count is increasing steadily every year. A new law in Indiana is aimed at changing that number. The law requires anyone younger than 18 years old to wear a helmet while riding or operating an ATV or other off-road vehicle.
A Warrick County mother who lost her daughter, Kate, in an ATV accident got House Bill 1200 started. Kate, who was just 11, was on an ATV without a helmet when it overturned while going up a hill. She was trapped underneath and suffered severe, fatal head trauma.
Kate’s mother, Ashlee, started the Play for Kate Foundation in response to her daughter’s fatal accident. The foundation worked to make House Bill 1200 a reality and is focused on raising awareness of ATV safety and injury prevention. The new law goes into effect in July 2017.
Quick Tips for a Safer Ride
In addition to wearing a helmet, following these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission can help reduce ATV-related deaths and injuries.
- Stay off paved roads. ATV stands for all terrain vehicle and that means they are not designed to be driven on pavement, which can make them difficult to control and prone to overturning.
- Do not allow children younger than 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV. Nearly all ATV-related injuries involving children are caused because they do not have the development skills needed to drive and control the more powerful adult ATVs. Children under 16 should only use age-appropriate youth ATVs, which travel at lower speeds than adult versions and have an adjustable speed limiter.
- Children under 6 years old should never be on a moving ATV.
- Do not allow more people on the ATV than it was made to carry. Most ATVs sold today are for a single rider and should only have one person on them at a time – the driver.
- Wear the correct protective gear. For maximum protection, always wear a helmet certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Other riding gear should include eye protection, gloves, long sleeved shirts and/or jackets and over-the-ankle boots.
- Get hands-on training. The proper training gives riders of all skill and experience levels the knowledge of how to handle a variety of situations that can happen when driving off-road.
Remember – an ATV is not a toy. It is a powerful and potentially dangerous vehicle that requires skill and concentration to drive. Acting safely and responsibly can help make sure your ATV adventures don’t turn from fun to fatal.
For information about St. Vincent Evansville’s trauma services, visit StVincentSWIN.org/trauma.