Between 2009 and 2013, Arkansas had the nation’s highest ATV-related death rate for children 17 and under. ATVs, also called four-wheelers, are popular among youth and teens, especially those living in rural areas.
The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service works collaboratively with The ATV Safety Institute to provide hands-on training to youth in the hopes of reducing the numbers of injuries and deaths associated with riding ATVs.
The Logan County Extension Service and these partners have been working with students at Magazine Elementary School for 10 years providing each student who goes through the safety course with two hours of online safety instruction and three hours of actual ATV riding with nationally certified instructors. It takes approximately four days to take 40 students a year through the program.
One of the main points that is stressed throughout the program is that everyone should wear a helmet while riding an ATV. However, many youth in the county who have access to ATVs do not have access to a helmet. Sarah Enoch saw the problem and applied to a grant from Polaris to get funding for helmets.
An award of $6,000 was given to the Logan County Extension Service to purchase helmets for the 32 participants this year at no cost to them. With more education and safety equipment, Enoch hopes that ATV related injuries in the Magazine community will be reduced.
The group of students who underwent training last May were measured for helmet sizes and and the helmets came in a few weeks ago while the kids were out of school so Enoch waited until Tuesday of last week to deliver the helmets.