Missouri Highway Patrol stresses safety for young drivers of ATVs

ATV Safety

With the recent rash of ATV/UTV accidents in north Missouri, the Missouri Highway Patrol is stressing responsible use of of this type of equipment.

Sergeant Brent Bernhart says many of those killed or injured in ATV accidents are 18 years-old and younger. He says main factors of crashes include inattention and operating the vehicles in a careless or negligent manner.

Sergeant Brnhart says children may not be able to physically control the ATV because of its size and weight. As with any piece of machinery, motor vehicle, or motorcycle, it’s important operators first be instructed by someone qualified on the proper and safe way to operate them.

Many crashes are caused by riders not familiar with the controls or lacking necessary experience.

The highway patrol public information and education officer based at Macon said it’s important to match the size of the rider with the ATV or UTV. He also noted riding around obstacles, on steep inclines, and at high speed is dangerous and can lead to serious crashes, many times involving injury.

Berhart remarked, in off-road situattions, It’s important to know the terrain, and never overdrive your capabilities or the capabilities of the vehicle. Wearing a helmet, boots, and other protective clothing cannot be stressed enough.

Any child riding an ATV/UTV needs to be closely supervised. Missouri law states

No person under age 16 shall operate an ATV in the state unless he or she is accompanied by, or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian, or an adult authorized by the parent or guardian. The law does not apply on private property owned by the parent or guardian of the person operating the vehicle. However, he asks parents to closely supervise their children’s use of such vehicles.

When it comes to adults, alcohol seems to be the biggest factor in ATV/UTV accidents.