ATV crashes spark interest in operation safety

KIMT News 3 – There have been a rash of ATV fatalities across the Hawkeye state.

In a span of 3 days, five Iowa kids, under the age of 15 have died in ATV accidents. One incident happened in Dubuque County, tragically killing four young boys, and the other happened just yesterday in Linn County. These heartbreaking accidents have sparked discussion about the importance of ATV safety, and what people should be thinking about before they head out on a joy ride.

As a father, Rob Determan with Mason City Powersports says, he’ll always be cautious about letting his little girl ride around on utility vehicles, but he tells us he also works hard to make sure his customers stay safe as well. He says, “We see most of the issues when we have young riders on machines that are not designed for them. We want to make sure parents understand weight limits and restrictions for the vehicles.”

The Hancock County Sheriff, Scott Dodd tells us that in an effort to make things safer in his county, new guidelines have been put into place to make sure the right people are operating the right vehicles. He says that all drivers of ATV’s must have a registered Iowa driver’s license. They must register their vehicles through either, the county or the Iowa DNR, and they can only drive on secondary roads.

“Our goal is to allow the usage, but to keep it as safe as we can,” Dodd says, and their tactics have paid off. The new ordinance was put into effect back in December. Since then, only one incident has been reported. It was a crash that happened on private property.

Dodd says that these rules only make a difference if they are followed .For the most part, the general public has been following them to a tee. Determan says that while these county laws are important to follow, he also believes it all comes back to parenting, and making sure folks know what their kids are up to when they aren’t around.

Determan tells us that courses on ATV operation are available through Polaris and Yamaha. If anyone has questions on how to get enrolled in these classes, contact Mason City Powersports.

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