January was a deadly month across North America for teenagers riding all-terrain vehicles. ATV accidents are responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries each year. Especially alarming is the growing number of accidents involving children and teenagers, who account for a third of all injuries and fatalities linked to ATV crashes.
An all-terrain vehicle crash claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl from the Chinquapin community in Duplin County, North Carolina last weekend. According to NBC affiliate WITN in Washington, North Carolina, the girl was identified as Raven Kennedy, a student at East Duplin High School.
Authorities investigating the accident said Kennedy was driving the ATV on private property when it rolled over after Kennedy attempted to turn onto a dirt road. Her passenger, 20-year-old Michael Pickett, was taken to Duplin General Hospital, where he was treated and released.
In South Carolina, a 13-year-old boy died when he was riding his ATV with friends. According to Florence County Coroner Bubba Matthews, the boy, who was identified as Benjamin Byers, lost control of the ATV and was crushed when the vehicle rolled over on top of him. Byers was rushed to Lake City Hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 3 p.m. on January 11.
Near White City, Oregon, three two teenage girls were treated for injuries at a local hospital when the ATV they and another friend, also a teenage girl, flipped. Reports say that the ATV’s driver lost control of the vehicle just as she attempted to cross Highway 140 in southern Oregon just outside White City.
One of the girls of the girls was ejected when the vehicle rolled over. The other girls were trapped under the vehicle after it rolled over multiple times. All three girls survived the crash.
In Nova Scotia, Canada, a teenager died when he was ejected from the vehicle after hitting some rocks in the road. 18-year-old Alexander MacPhee of Nine Mile River was riding his ATV with two friends when the accident occurred. Halifax Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that MacPhee was wearing a helmet but that it had come off when he the rock. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
In an effort to reduce the incidence of injury and death caused by ATV accidents, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced last October that it voted to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to address safety hazards associated with ATVs.
According to the CPSC, the agency’s preliminary evaluations found that ATVs may exhibit inadequate lateral stability, undesirable steering characteristics, and inadequate occupant protection during a rollover crash.
“The need for federal rulemaking on ROVs (recreational offroad vehicles) is the consequence of not having a voluntary standard that effectively safeguards consumers, said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum in a statement, adding that she believed her agency could play a vital role in making ATVs safer.