A Trip Unplanned: ATV Safety
The Arkansas Educational Television Network addresses all terrain vehicle safety training. A Trip Unplanned: An ATV Safety Story DVD is available to the public free of charge through Arkansas Childrens Hospital. Classes on ATV safety are offered throughout the state by the 4-H program of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission through their hunter education course.
Every year, more than 700 deaths occur as a direct result of ATV-related injuries. Thirty-five percent of those 700 deaths are children under the age of 16. The highest risk age group is males under the age of 16. Every week, more than one child is admitted to Arkansas Childrens Hospital after an ATV-related injury.
The most common injuries associated with ATV accidents are skull fractures, brain injuries, paralysis and spinal cord injuries. Arkansas currently has one of the highest child injury rates in the nation.
Arkansas resident Ashley Mays of New Hope learned first hand the tragedy associated with improper ATV use when her son was injured on an ATV when he was only three years old. Now, at age five, her son is still dealing with injuries from the accident.
I am willing to tell my story for so many different reasons, but the main reason is to save another family from going through what we went through and are continuing to go through, Mays said. It sounds cliché but when you go through it you just want to do whatever to save one kid literally one kid from going through something similar.
A Trip Unplanned: An ATV Safety Story will be followed by a live panel discussion. Panelists will discuss the importance of ATV safety courses and ways to avoid injuries.
Among those participating in the panel are: Dr. Mary Aitken, professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Mike Klumpp, associate professor of 4-H Youth Development with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service; Eric Devries, Central Arkansas Regional Education Coordinator with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; and guest Ashley Mays.
Tips for safely operating an ATV include
- Always wear a helmet with eye protection.
- Never ride on public roads or at night.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Never carry a passenger.
- Ride only on designated trails at a safe speed.
- Always supervise riders younger than 16.
According to Arkansas law, all children under the age of 12 may not operate an ATV without adult supervision.