35 Witnesses Set to Testify at CPSC Regional ATV Safety Hearing in West Virginia - ATV Injuries Double in 5-Year Period, Deaths Continue To Climb
WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 35 witnesses have registered to testify about all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety at the commission's regional public hearing to be held in Morgantown, W.Va., on June 5, 2003. Estimated ATV-related injuries in the U.S. have doubled in a recent 5-year period and deaths also continue to climb.
The 35 witnesses include medical doctors, injury prevention researchers, ATV dealers, ATV riders, consumer safety advocates, and families of victims from ATV-related crashes.
"The diversity of views is exactly what we want to hear at the ATV safety hearing," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "We are concerned about the disproportionate increase in the number of deaths and injuries associated with ATV use in recent years, and we hope the hearing will help us understand the causes of these deaths and injuries."
ATV injuries requiring an emergency room visit increased by 104 percent from an estimated 54,700 in 1997 to 111,700 in 2001. In 2001, about a third of these victims were under 16 years old. In this same period the estimated number of ATV drivers increased 36 percent, driving hours grew 50 percent and the number of ATVs increased 40 percent, according to a recent commission analysis.
For 1999, the last year for which death records are substantially complete, the commission has reports of 357 people who died as a result of ATV use, up from 251 in 1998 and 241 in 1997.
The 35 witnesses who will testify at the June 5 hearing come from West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Hampshire, California, Montana, and South Carolina.
"West Virginia and Pennsylvania ranked in the top six states for ATV-related deaths between 1982 and 2001," Stratton said, "so it makes sense to hold a hearing in that area." (Pennsylvania and West Virginia recorded 264 and 194 deaths, respectively, in that period. Ohio recorded 124 deaths and Maryland 25 deaths.)
"The field hearing gives local people a voice and an opportunity to participate when they otherwise might not have been able if we limited our hearings to Washington D.C.," Stratton said.
The Consumer Federation of America and other groups petitioned the commission in September 2002 to ban the sale of adult-size, four-wheel ATVs sold for the use of children under the age of 16. The commission sought written public comments on the petition from October 2002 through March 16, 2003. The West Virginia hearing will provide an additional opportunity for the public to express its views about this petition.
The hearing is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University Health Sciences Campus, in Morgantown.
Personally coming from a country that is built on agricultural means, the ATV or 4 wheel (or 3 wheel) motor-bike has a strong following over here. There are frequent accidents here, mainly by young kids riding them and not observing the safety warnings, especially where steep country is involved. People being pinned underneath an overturned ATV seem to feature quite frequently over here, even though training courses are available for those that are over 15, sadly most of the young people killed by accidents like this, don't even hold a Drivers Licence!.