Protecting Children on ATV's
A proposal to prohibit children less than 8 years old from operating all-terrain vehicles easily cleared a House committee on Wednesday. North Carolina is one of five states with essentially no operating restrictions for the machines. The number of children less than 16 who died in ATV-related accidents in North Carolina jumped from 5 in 1999 to 11 last year. Children from ages 8 to 15 would only be allowed to operate child-sized ATVs under an adult's close supervision. All ATV drivers starting in October 2006 would have to complete a safety course and follow equipment and driving standards. The initial version of the bill would have prohibited children under 12 from operating an ATV. Some senators argued that age was too restrictive. The ATV industry had recommended barring children under 6. Senators approved the bill after adjusting the minimum age to 8 and setting exemptions for farmers and hunters.