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ATV Safety

 With the hunting season upon us, the Kaufman County Sheriffs office would like to remind Kaufman County residents about ATV safety. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, ATV driving leads to more than 700 deaths and more than 135,000 injuries annually in America, and an estimated 30% of those involve children. Texas is among the top five states for ATV deaths, along with Pennsylvania, California, West Virginia and Kentucky. The ATV is an extremely popular form of recreation, but despite all the wonderful aspects of the ATV, it is important to remember that they can also be hazardous. The use of ATV’s has increased since their introduction to the U.S. and so have the associated injuries and deaths.

 The following are 10 guidelines to ensure the safe use of an ATV:

    Wear protective equipment.

    Helmet – Just like operating a motorcycle or bike, riding an ATV requires you to use a helmet. Most serious or fatal accidents occur when the rider is not wearing a helmet. Helmets may no be the most stylish accessory, but they can literally save lives. Look for a helmet with a snug fit that fastens securely. Without the protection of a helmet, the risk of severe injury greatly increases.

    Goggles or face shield - You must be able to see clearly in order to ride safely. Dirt, rocks, and branches in your eyes can impair your vision while riding and can cause blindness.

    Gloves and boots – the use of gloves and boots will provide the operator with a better grip and protection against cuts and scratches. Wearing gloves helps to ensure operator control of the ATV. Boots help to maintain proper foot placement on the footrest. Never ride bare footed.

    Never carry a passenger – Most ATV’s were designed to carry only the driver. Passengers impede the operator’s ability to shift their weight, adjust their position, and maneuver the ATV safely. Having a passenger on an ATV may also upset the balance of the ATV and cause unsafe operation.

    Follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines – Become familiar with the ATV before operating. Thoroughly read the owners manual. Make sure all the tires have adequate air pressure, and check all controls and cables, as well as oil and fuel levels, and the chain and drive shaft chassis to ensure they are working properly.

    Never use drugs or drink alcohol while riding – Operating an ATV requires the full attention of the rider. Drugs and alcohol reduce the operator’s ability to maintain proper control and increases the likelihood of an accident.

    Take a driver’s safety course – hands – on training should be received from a qualified instructor. Never lend your ATV to someone who has not taken a safety training course.

    ATV’s shall not be operated from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise without a lighted tail light and headlight.

    Remember safety first! Have a safe hunting season.