Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mississippi Needs Tougher ATV Safety Laws

By Dr. Shannon Smith

Mississippi’s pediatricians have long been sounding the alarm about the dangers associated with children riding ATVs.

There were 205 deaths in Mississippi from 1999 to 2008 as a result of ATV crashes, and 43 percent of those deaths were children and youths under age 22. Pediatricians, especially trauma specialists at UMMC Batson Children’s Hospital, see too many young lives cut short or forever handicapped by ATV crashes.

The state is currently considering proposals that would make helmet use mandatory for children under age 16, and would require a driver’s license or completion of a 4-H or similar ATV safety course to ride an ATV. It’s a simple first step, but more must be done.

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