YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – June starts what health professionals across the country call Trauma Season, it’s when emergency rooms see a big spike in visits, especially from kids.
All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are one of the leading causes for injuries in the Valley. A government study found that between 1982 and 2014 nearly 13,600 people died from ATV related accidents, and just over 3,000 of those people were kids younger than 16.
ATV Safety Instructor Keith Custard said for adults the cause is mostly alcohol related. For kids, it’s inexperience and a lack of supervision.
Pennsylvania requires safety training for kids ages eight through 15. Ohio just requires riders to be 16 years old.
Custard leads a safety training course in Mercer County. He said teaching kids limits is the most important tip he could give parents.
“You have to know and be comfortable with your capabilities and the capabilities of the machine. If you look at say a hill and you say, ‘Whoa,’ go with your instincts, don’t do it,” Custard said.
Custard also said proper safety equipment like helmets, gloves and full-sleeve clothes should be worn at all times, to never ride alone and to always have a friend with you in case of an emergency.
Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene agreed with Custard and said it’s a major problem, people think just because they’re not on an actual road it’s not drinking and driving.
“You may not think something like that is that dangerous but it certainly can be. It’s a heavy piece of equipment,” Greene said.