ATV LEGISLATION STOPPED - Corria Says "Shocked By Legislators Behavior"

ATV safety legislation is dead in this year's legislative session, according to Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin.

Tomblin says there was too much confusion about the bill, blaming the schedule.

"It's really kind of aggravating the thing waits until the last day here to try and get out," he said.

ATV manufacturer's lobbyist Karen Corria says the decision by the Senate leadership "Leaves us to fight all over again."

"These vehicles were not meant to be ridden on the roadway," she said. She's shocked by the behavior of lawmakers. "It sends a very bad message about how we set policy, the manufacturer's recommendations evidently do not mean anything to some legislators."

Angry supporters of safety legislation said it is likely the families of victims will start bringing civil suits against the state of WV at a million dollars a clip, saying the state has ignored the manufacturers warning labels.

Corria says 37 other states have been able to regulate ATVs, but not West Virginia, stating they are unstable on paved roads and with double riders.

Corria says Tomblin's call for more enforcement is just an excuse. She says safety experts, manufacturers and the State Police have urged lawmakers to ban ATVs from paved roads, but they've refused to do so.

Corria says police can't enforce the kind of rules that's on the books.

Angry at Tomblin, she said his decision was "just an excuse to double ride an ATV with his wife," according to a statement the legislator made earlier.

There are several hundred thousand ATV owners who are voters.

The bill would have banned ATVs from all paved roads, while giving local governments the opportunity to make exceptions. It also addressed passengers on ATVs and included an accident reporting requirement.

Tomblin says he wants more education about riding. "I wish there was a magic wand to wave to stop people from getting hurt or killed."

Corria says unfortunately there will be additional ATV deaths in West Virginia until residents rise up and let their concerns be known.

The bill was drafted after a several month study by a legislative interim committee.

An e-mail to the Herald said "Maybe more people need to stare in the cold, gray face of a dead child, as they think about their on-the-road freedom, mixing ATVs with cars and trucks."

West Virginia holds the record year after year with the largest number of deaths and injuries.