Viewpoint

6-year-olds and ATVs

Bryce Dolan directs his daughter Mylee during a youth ATV safety course in Ogden, Utah, last week.
Bryce Dolan directs his daughter Mylee during a youth ATV safety course in Ogden, Utah, last week. AP

From an editorial in the (Greensboro) News & Record on Monday:

Why not at birth?

One of the curiosities in a state Senate regulatory bill packed with curiosities is a provision that lowers the legal age for riding an ATV. To 6.

The provision would undo earlier changes to the law that tighten the rules in the wake of several horrific deaths and injuries involving ATVs.

That current law, adopted in 2005, made the minimum age 8 years old. The law also required safety helmets and eye protection for all ATV users.

After that bill became law, child fatalities on ATVs in the state dropped by 59 percent.

It was passed with bipartisan support and fully debated following an 18-month study. The new rules have neither been studied nor openly discussed.

The broader regulatory bill already has passed the House, but that version made no changes to ATV rules. So the House would have to concur with the Senate’s changes before it goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

If anything, lawmakers should have raised the minimum age for ATV drivers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum age of 16. “Off-road vehicles are particularly dangerous for children younger than 16 years who may have immature judgment and motor skills,” the academy concluded. “Children who are not licensed to drive a car should not be allowed to operate off-road vehicles.”

The House should say no to this reckless affront to common sense.

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