A teen's recent death is a harsh reminder that ATVs can be fatal.
Eighteen-year-old Marshell Connor Lucas died in an all-terrain vehicle accident over the weekend. He was trying to catch up to another vehicle and struck a tree.
As riding ATVs has become a popular hobby for kids, the amount of related deaths and injuries is alarming. In 2008, 410 people reportedly died due to ATV accidents -- and 74 of those were children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission believes that at least 135,100 other people were treated that year for ATV-related injuries.
Three mothers -- Carolyn Anderson, Sue Rabe and Carol Keezer -- lost children in ATV-related accidents and founded the Concerned Families for ATV Safety organization, a network of parents helping each other cope with ATV-related deaths. They claim that over 40,000 families each year have a child who is injured or killed in one of these incidents.
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Here are a few of the children who have lost their lives in ATV-related accidents:
Zachary T. Barker, 15, was an ATV passenger who died after a car struck the ATV he was riding on a St. Louis road. Zachary was thrown 60 feet and died at the accident scene.
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Shay Christopher Atwood, 10, died after seven months of surgeries and therapy due to an ATV accident he had last August. Shay was driving a three-wheeler near his Michigan home, and the vehicle flipped over.
Photo: Muskegan Chronicle
Dominique Dezii,13, was killed while riding in an ATV. The driver of the vehicle ran a red light and then hit an oncoming car on a New Jersey road.
Photo: Courier Post Online
James Anderson, 14, was killed when he crashed an ATV into a tree on a backwoods trail during a summer vacation with friends in New Hampshire. His mother, Carolyn, is one of the founders of the Concerned Families for ATV Safety.
Photo: Concerned Families for ATV Safety
Five Georgia children died in 2003 after a car struck their ATV. Dustin Vernedore, 11, Kayla Vernedore, 13, Lindsay Joiner, 13, Courtney Arsenault, 10, and Coranne Megan Nelson, 14, had piled into the ATV and then gone for a ride on a winding road during a birthday party.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides guidelines for reducing the risks associated with ATVs:
* Take a hands-on safety training course. ATV drivers with formal training have a lower injury risk.
* Always wear protective gear, especially a helmet.
* Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride in one as a passenger.
* Do not drive ATVs on paved roads.
* Do not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs. Kids under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as children riding in youth ATVs.
* Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Would you let your child ride an ATV?