Concerned about the deaths of children on all-terrain
vehicles, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is
preparing to establish new rules restricting use of the
vehicles, while mounting a major educational campaign.
But the commission has stopped short of an outright ban
of adult-size ATVs for children under age 16, which has
been sought by parents groups and others who say too many
youths have died on adult-size ATVs.
After examining the issue for the past two years,
authorities announced the education campaign in an effort
to reduce injuries and deaths.
Nationwide, 6,500 deaths were reported from 1982
through 2004, with 30 percent involving children under 16.
In California, there were 324 deaths during the same
period, the most in the nation. The number of four-wheel
ATVs in use in the United States has increased from more
than 2 million to more than 6.9 million over the past
The major focus of the commission is targeting children
who ride adult-size ATVs. “There have been too many
children killed while driving or riding as a passenger on
adult ATVs,” acting Chairwoman Nancy Nord said.
This summer, the commission rejected a petition filed
by a coalition of parents that sought to disallow
adult-size vehicles for children under 16.
Instead, the commission will focus on its educational
campaign, said Scott Wolfson, Consumer Product Safety
The commission's campaign includes new television and
radio public-service announcements, the creation of the
www.ATVSafety.gov Web site, and partnering with
organizations and officials dedicated to promoting ATV
The commission also has proposed:
A ban on three-wheel ATVs, which have been drastically
reduced in the market since 1988, when the commission and
manufacturers reached an agreement to stop making or
selling them. But authorities have seen a re-emergence of
the vehicles through Internet sales.
Requiring retailers to offer free training to all ATV
buyers and members of their immediate family and warn
against children using adult ATVs.
Officials said they also are looking into the
possibility of creating a separate vehicle size to meet
the needs of younger children who are too big for the
“We're certainly looking for a wider youth model that
allows for proper spacing for the arms and legs to the
steering column,” Wolfson said.
Sue Rabe of Turner, Ore., whose 10-year-old son was
killed in an ATV accident, said she was dismayed by the
“We wanted a clear message not to put a child on an
adult-sized ATV,” said Rabe, who represents Concerned
Families for ATV Safety, based in Brockton, Mass.
Creating a vehicle sized for children “does nothing to
solve the existing problem of children riding (ATVs),” she