(10/22/2005)
The feds may soon be placing safety regulations on ATVs because of the high number of fatalities and injuries on the recreational vehicles.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced it intends to do more to regulate the safety of all terrain vehicles.

In West Virginia, ATVs have been legalized as road machines on hard-surfaced highways without a center line, despite manufacturers warnings.

They are also allowed on primary roads, with restrictions.

WV has the highest death rate on the vehicles, and likely the highest number of injuries per capita.

Safety training for young riders has been ignored.

About 2% of the WVs youth population have taken a mandated safety course in order to operate the vehicles.

Manufacturers are upset because the ATVs were never intended to be driven on hard-surfaced roads, nor were they designed for double riding.

In both cases, the manufacturers say they can become unstable.

According to statistics kept by the commission, one-third of the nearly 6,000 ATV deaths and 125,000 hospital emergency room visits since 1982 have involved riders under the age of 16.

The majority of those killed or injured, youngsters were riding machines designed for adults.

The CPSC is considering rules requiring pre-sale training and certification requirements.

Currently, ATV manufacturers and dealers operate under voluntary rules. Each adult machine has a label stating the machine should not be operated by riders under the age of 16.

That rule is frequently ignored.

One report says over 90 West Virginians were killed on recreational vehicles last year.


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