“This event is the first of its kind that we have had here in Washington County,” commented Heather Hallman, Safe Kids Coordinator for Washington County. “We are excited that the Sheriff’s office sees the need to bring this class to county residents. They’ve worked really hard to make this course possible.” This class is being sponsored by the Sheriff’s department, Safe Kids, and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department .There will be ATV helmets and other protective gear available at the class for purchase.
Washington County law requires anyone driving an ATV without a driver license to obtain an Off Highway Vehicle Safety Certificate, and no one under the age of eight is permitted to operate an ATV. Everyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet that is fitted, fastened, and meets state safety standards.
“Although the law states everyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, it is highly encouraged that everyone wear proper head protection along with other safeguards while riding ATVs, no matter what their age,” stated Cambree Johnson, Injury Prevention Program Coordinator for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.
With summer activities in full swing, there are an increased number of ATVs on the roads and in state parks. The ATV season this summer, however, started in tragedy with a rollover accident at Sand Hollow resulting in the death of one rider and injuring another. Neither victim was wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, this story is not uncommon; in 2011 there were a total of 68 visits to urgent care facilities (emergency room or Instacare) for ATV injuries in Beaver, Garfield, Iron and Washington counties. 42 of the 68 patients were minors (62%), with the average age being 13. The summer months have higher rates of ATV urgent care visits, especially during holidays. This year there have already been nine ATV-related visits of minors to urgent care facilities in Washington County alone.
Parents who want their kids to attend the Off Highway Vehicle Safety Course can submit the student’s information by calling the Sheriff’s Office directly at 435-656-6500. All students will receive a confirmation via letter, email or phone call. Students unable to attend due to limited class size will be contacted for the next available course.