There’s a lot of fun and adventure to be enjoyed while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The decision to allow a child or adolescent to drive one should be made carefully, as they can also be dangerous.
Safety Tips for Children and Adolescents Driving ATVs: Age Limits
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends children under the age of 12 not drive an ATV. Because of the difficulty in handling this type of vehicle, it can pose a serious challenge to those who don’t have the strength or body size.
It’s also important to note that in West Virginia, no one under the age of 18 can drive an ATV without completing a safety awareness course. The course must be approved by the commissioner and the minor must receive a certification of completion.
Tips for Kids and ATVs: Safety Gear, Passengers, and Where to Ride
If an older child or teen is going to drive or ride as a passenger on an ATV, he or she must wear a helmet. Parents who know a child isn’t wearing one (or should have known) could be penalized. Fines can range from $50 to $500 (depending upon the number of offenses) along with community service.
Along with a helmet, other types of protective gear include:
- eye protection;
- long pants; and
- shirt, jacket, and closed-toed shoes.
Most ATVs are designed to only carry the operator, in which case the driver should never carry a passenger. If it is a two-seater, it still may not be a good idea to carry a passenger.
Children and adolescents should never ride on public roads. The risk of striking or being struck by a motor vehicle is too high. In fact, West Virginia doesn’t allow someone under the age of 18 to even be a passenger on an ATV on a road or highway with more than two lanes or with a center line. The only exception would be if the operator is at least 18 years old or has a level two intermediate driver’s license.
If your child is injured in an ATV accident because of another party’s negligence, contact an attorney to discuss taking legal action. Call The Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 to set up a consultation.