According to the Pauls Valley Democrat, six teens and pre-teens ages 12-18 were involved in a single vehicle accident Thursday night on a county road northeast of Pauls Valley. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report showed that a 16-year-old girl was the driver of the 2009 Polaris Ranger 700 EFI ATV which was carrying 5 passengers. The driver lost control of the vehicle as it ran off the ride side of the road into a ditch where it hit a tree. Consequently, the driver and two of the passengers were thrown from the ATV an unknown distance. The driver and one of the passengers thrown suffered the most serious injuries.
This accident reinforces the need for proper safety precautions any rider of an ATV should take. Recognizing the dangers of these vehicles, the ATV Safety Institute has 8 “Golden Rules” that all drivers and passengers of ATV’s should obey.
- A DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves should always be worn.
- ATV’s should not be driven on paved roads except to cross.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- There should never be any passengers on a single-rider ATV or more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that is suitable for your age.
- Riders younger than 16 should be supervised.
- ATVs should only be ridden on designated trails at a safe speed.
- Riders should take an ATV safety course.
ATVs are not toys, and just like any moving vehicle, significant injury can occur if they are driven recklessly or without adequate safety. Excess riders, no supervision, wrong terrain. Unfortunately, all factors led to disaster in this particular instance.
Our prayers are with the injured riders for a quick and speedy recovery.