Three ATV fatalities this year involve adultsThree of the four all-terrain vehicle related deaths in North Dakota this year have involved adults, and a Minnesota official says that state is seeing a similar trend.
FARGO (AP) — Three of the four all-terrain vehicle related deaths in North Dakota this year have involved adults, and a Minnesota official says that state is seeing a similar trend.
In North Dakota, a 62-year-old man died near Mantador in April, an 81-year-old Rolette man died in May and a 26-year-old woman was killed earlier this month in Sargent County. The fourth ATV fatal, near LaMoure in May, involved a 13-year-old boy.
Capt. Mike Hammer, education program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources enforcement division, said serious ATV crashes in that state also are more likely to involve adults.
That might be because older drivers are not required to take the same training as youths, he said.
In Minnesota, drivers 11 to 15 years old are required to complete a safety course via computer as well as a hands-on ATV class. Those 16 and older born after July 1, 1987, are required to complete the computer course.
Under North Dakota law, people 12 to 16 years of age must have a driver’s license or a special safety certificate to drive an ATV.
Hammer said years of car-driving experience won’t necessarily help someone handle an ATV.
“I can be driving down a road at 30 mph in my car and crank the steering wheel and I’m not going to roll it,” he said. “If I’m driving down a trail at 30 mph on an ATV and I crank the handlebars, you are going to roll it. No ifs, ands or buts.”
The number of ATV deaths in North Dakota this year is one more than the number in 2008 and equal to the total number of ATV deaths in 2007. But those numbers are far lower than the 13 fatal crashes recorded in North Dakota in 2006.
Minnesota also has seen a drop in fatal ATV crashes in recent years. The state recorded 24 in 2004. By last year, the number had dropped to 18. Officials say efforts to train and educate drivers might be one reason for the decline.
Diana Read, injury prevention coordinator for the North Dakota Health Department, said she would like to see another step taken — a minimum age for ATV drivers.
“I think they (ATVs) have their place. I think they’re a great vehicle for farm work,” she said. “But I’m not sure they have a place for children under the age of 16.
“Children that get on these adult-size vehicles don’t realize what strength it takes to control them,” she said.
Read urges supervision for those under 16 on ATVs. Daryl Brandner said supervision is standard practice when his children, ages 13 and 16, ride the vehicles.
The president of North Dakota Dirt Riders, an association of ATV enthusiasts, said even though the law allows his children to ride on their own, he worries what other drivers might do.
“When we ride, I usually lead, so if there’s going to be an issue I would run into it before they would,” he said.