The regulation of ATV's is building interest with some representatives prior to the
next legislative session, mostly prompted by the deaths of three 13-year-old children
in one recent week, bringing the ATV death total in the Mountain State to 17 for the
Several hundred more are injured every year, some critically, some permanently.
West Virginia has the highest number of deaths and injuries on the vehicles, more
than any other state.
The West Virginia Legislature has declined to legislate ATV's for at least the past
eight years, mostly because the laws could place restrictions for use on private
Leff Moore, a lobbyist for ATV's and recreational vehicles, said the vehicles should
not be ridden on paved roads. He said the balloon tires are not designed for
pavement, and are made to mold themselves to rough terrain for traction.
Most ATV sellers and enthusiasts want the vehicles to travel on back roads, and
think banning them on any pavement is going too far. There is no helmet law and
essentially no restrictions where they can be ridden, although some West Virginia
towns have banned them.
West Virginia University studied the fatalities. About one-third happened on paved
roads, the rest on private property.
Gov. Bob Wise said "Far too many young people are dying" and being seriously
injured, and is supporting safety legislation.