47 people have died so far this year in ATV related crashes in West Virginia. And with more than three months left in the year, that number is only expected to grow.
Now the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is working to change that. The agency is hosting ATV safety classes in a place you don't typically think of four-wheelers, local libraries.
These classes are just 30 minutes long, and are for children ages five to eighteen. The mission: to stop the ATV death rate among children from climbing.
With our mountains and rough terrain, four-wheeling is a way of life for a lot of people here.
Charles Sammons has been riding them since he was a kid. “When I was young I was in the emergency room every Sunday afternoon I got hurt all the time." Sammons doesn't want the same to happen to his grandson Joah Payne. That's why he brought him to this ATV safety awareness class. "I learn to always wear a helmet and gloves."
This is one of seven classes across Kanawha County targeting kids....trying to teach them how to operate ATV’s safely. Students in the class watch a short video about ATV safety and then take a quiz to receive their certificate of completion.
In West Virginia alone, twenty-four percent of ATV deaths were among children 16 years of age and younger. And more than ninety-five percent of crash victims of any age were not wearing a helmet.
Kayla Anderson loves to ride her ATV. And she wants to make sure she knows what she's doing.
“My safety is a lot better than me just lying somewhere in the grave. And I rather be alive.”
These classes are mandatory for kids 18 and younger in West Virginia. To get your child certified through the class you need to present the child's birth certificate and social security card.
These classes only focus on safety, they don't teach how you to ride an ATV.
The next class is Tuesday at 6:30 at the Dunbar Library; and then Thursday evening at the main library in Charleston.