« JR's Random Outdoor Quote | Main | Crazy About Sheds? Meet The Antler Man! »

February 26, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Newshound at its new location: www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound.

W. Virginia Most Dangerous State for ATV Riders

A new report released last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that 555 Americans--including more than 100 youth--died from injuries sustained in all-terrain vehicle accidents in 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available).

The 2006 fatality numbers were was down from 666 in 2005.

The new data also revealed that an additional 146,600 people received emergency room treatment for ATV-related injuries in 2006.


The report also noted the top ten states for ATV fatalities between 1982 and 2006. In order they are Pennsylvania, 420; California, 418; West Virginia, 398; Texas, 386; Kentucky, 367; Florida, 349; Tennessee, 322; New York, 303; North Carolina, 297; and Michigan, 296.

John McCoy, my good friend and the fine outdoors scribe for the Charleston (WV) Gazette, put pencil to paper to reveal how the fatality numbers were a particular indictment of ATV riders—and ATV regulations--in The Mountain State.

Based on population, McCoy calculated that West Virginians are 2 1/2 times more likely to die in and ATV accident that residents of any other state.

By state, the chances of dying in an ATV wreck are: West Virginia, one in 4,554; Kentucky, one in 11,561; Texas, one in 16,260; Tennessee, one in 19,121; Pennsylvania, one in 29,673; North Carolina, one in 30,303; Michigan, one in 34,483; Florida, one in 52,356; New York, one in 62,500; and California, one in 87,719.

While some consumer groups and parents claim ATVs to be inherently unsafe, the industry points to speeding and operator judgment as contributing factors in most accidents.

“ATVs have never been shown to be an unsafe product, but there have been bad decisions made by people (operating them),” said Mike Mount, a spokesman for the California-based Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.

Indeed, in more than 75 percent of the incidents where speed could be determined, it appeared that the ATVs were being driven too fast for conditions. In nearly 60 percent of the fatalities, riders were not wearing helmets. For younger riders, ages 6-11, about 30 percent of the ATV accidents involved collisions; at least 27 percent involved ATVs that rolled over.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference W. Virginia Most Dangerous State for ATV Riders:



While I no longer live in WV, I spent the first twenty four years of my life there. I think Mr. McCoy failed to mention a couple other points regarding ATV accidents in the state.

I own a small farm in a very rural area of the state and on summer weekends it is not unusual for more than 100 ATV's to roll by my farm. Based on the number of beer cans I have picked up over the years, I can only conclude that a large percentage of these passing riders are at least somewhat intoxicated.

In addition, Mr. McCoy failed to mention the fact that the ATV manufacturers and dealers have formed a very aggressive and effective lobbying organization that has been successful in suppressing meaningful legislation.



I am not an ATV rider, have never been on an ATV,do not own one and likely never will.

I do not sell or service ATV's and am not employed in any related industry and never have been. I am retired now.

I also do not own land that others will likely ride an ATV on

But I am interested in what you believe meaningful legislation to be.

Controlling irresponsible and dangerous behavior is becoming harder to achieve in these times and maybe you can move us to a greater understanding on how to do that.

Yeah, I live in a rural area - Maine - with lots of laws governing everything but with lots of outrageous and dangerous behavior.



What I consider reasonable legislation are laws that prevent ATV riders from endangering the safety of others. A good example of this would be a law prohibiting the machines on paved roads, or at least requiring the riders to obey a reasonable speed limit. Another example of a reasonable law would be one that holds parents responsible for allowing there under age children to drive ATVs with what has to be considered reckless disregard for anyone else.

I will give you an example of what I am talking about. Many of the roads in rural West Virginia--including those around my farm--are narrow single lane roads that wind around the hillsides. A safe speed on many of these roads is between fifteen and twenty five miles an hour, but I routinely see kids that cannot be over twelve years old driving at speeds far exceeding this.

The way it stands now, the police are all but powerless to do anything to anyone they catch riding the things in an irresponsible manner. Last summer I witnessed a thirteen year old kid run an elderly couple out of the road. He did not stop, or even slow down. I stopped and helped get their car out of the ditch, I then told them I would call the Sheriff, as I had seen the young man, and knew where he lived. However, the sheriff's department told me there wasn't anything they could do, as the machines are not registered and thus there is no way of determining who actually owns the ATV.

I agree with your point that it is hard to stop all irresponsible behavior, but the situation in West Virginia is ridiculous.


I forgot to mention another consequence of unregulated ATVs in my first post--the new lease policies of the Timber and Coal companies.

Large swaths of West Virginia are owned by companies, Mead Westvaco, Georgia Pacific, and Pocohontas Land Company (aka Norfolk Southern) being the most dominant. Until about fifteen years ago these companies sold access permits that allowed hunters to use any land that was not being used for timber or research projects. However, as ATVs became more popular, and as the state refused to regulate the machines, these companies began to lock this land up in long-term leases which drastically reduced the number of people who could use this land.

I have friends who work for several of these companies and they tell me that the reason for this change in policy is that 1) leasing the lands transfers some of the liability to the lease holder should anyone be hurt on the land, and 2) the lease holders are mort apt to police their lease and keep ATV riders from tearing down gates and cutting access roads.


They aint freakin toys!! I thought motorcycles were and it cost me a year and a half of my life! Im also a cripple for the rest of my life. Again they aint freakin toys!!!!