GILMER MAN DEAD FROM ATV WRECK - Children Injured Up 70%

A 43-year-old Gilmer County man was reportedly found dead by family members after failing to return home on his ATV, according to Mark Holmes, Program Coordinator for the Governor's Highway Safety Program.

The Glenville State Police detachment is investigating the incident.

Last week a 63-year-old Boone County man was found dead, related to an ATV accident.

Holmes reported there have been at least 43 ATV fatalities so far this year, with 38 victims not wearing helmets.

Thirty-four have been on-the-road fatalities, he said.

Thirteen were drug and alcohol related.

September had a record 11 deaths on ATVs in West Virginia.

The number of children hospitalized because of ATV accidents has increased more than 70 percent since 2000, said the Jim Helmkamp, director of the injury control research center at West Virginia University.

Helmkamp recently completed a study on the medical costs of ATVs involving children.

The study was done for Concerned Families for ATV Safety, which wants to ban children younger than 16 from using ATVs.

In 2000, more than 2,100 children younger than 16 were sent to the hospital with ATV injuries. That number increased to more than 3,600 in 2004.

Current statistics are not available, but officials believe the number is ever increasing.

"Children under 16 don't have the mental ability or physical skills to handle an ATV," said Carolyn Anderson, founder of the Concerned Families group, who lost her son in an ATV accident.

Anderson claims they require greater skill than driving a car.