Heading up to the farm over the holidays? Be sure to keep an eye on the kids because they are over-represented in ATV deaths.

That’s the warning from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the ATV and SSV importers in Australia.

The temptation for younger riders to take these vehicles for a spin can sometimes be too much, with fatal results.

It is especially important to supervise younger riders and ensure they only ride age appropriate vehicles and wear appropriate safety equipment.

Unfortunately, children are over-represented in off-road vehicle fatalities every year in Australia.

Of the 15 ATV and SSV related fatalities in 2019, five were children riding vehicles designed for adults.

Four of these were operating or riding as a passenger in an SSV; and one was operating an ATV that was recommended for older age groups.

Alarmingly, it appears that in the four SSV incidents, the occupants had not used the seatbelts, doors or netting that are ‘built in’ safety devices designed to reduce harm.

Safety Guidelines for SSV and ATV use:

SSV

  • Operators should be 16 years of age and hold a valid licence.
  • Passengers must be tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly and to brace themselves if needed,by placing both feet firmly on the floor and being able to reach the hand hold.
  • Don’t carry more passengers than there are seats available, and never in the cargo area
  • Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective gear.
  • Keep doors and side nets closed. Keep your whole body inside the SSV.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Stick to off-road areas and don’t use sealed roadways.

ATV

  • Riders must be 16 years of age to operate an adult size ATV
  • Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective gear
  • Never carry a passenger on a single seat ATV
  • Be trained and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and warnings
  • Never overload your vehicle and reduce loads on difficult or steep terrain.

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Going bush for Chrissy? Keep an eye on the kids, parents warned

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.

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