Exercise caution when driving an ATV

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Because Mississippi and Pearl River County are very rural in nature, off-roading is a major hobby. From four wheel drive trucks to smaller all-terrain vehicles, getting dirty with a gas powered machine can be a weekend full of fun. But with that fun comes a certain level of danger.

This week the Associated Press reported that two people were killed on Saturday after their ATV crashed into an Amtrak train.

While none of the passengers in Crenshaw, Miss. on the train were injured, the people on the ATV met an untimely end.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

ATVs, when used with caution, can provide a great deal of fun and entertainment. However, they can also be deadly if driven carelessly or by someone who is inexperienced.

A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that approximately 650 people died in 2013 from an ATV-related accident. In addition, in the same year more than 90,000 people were treated for ATV-related injuries in emergency rooms across the United States.

In Mississippi, no license or training is required for a person to operate an ATV on private property.

This lack of regulation combined with careless operation can result in several outcomes.

As such precautions should be taken. ATV operators should avoid riding while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Children and young teens should not be allowed to operate adult-sized ATVs. These vehicles, especially those made for adult use, are fast, powerful and often hard to control. One small mistake can lead to a crash or roll over – resulting in potentially serious injuries or death.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, “Mississippians are 3.5 times more likely to die from an all-terrain vehicle accident compared to the 2010 national average.”

When riding an ATV, precautions should be taken to ensure the ride is both safe and enjoyable. Be sure to wear a helmet and other protective gear – such as gloves, safety goggles, and long clothes.

Keep the ATV off of paved roads and never let children control adult vehicles. Above all, put safety first.