ALBANY- A new law signed by Governor Kathy Hochul and sponsored by two Westchester Democrats raises the legal age of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operation in the state from 10 to 14 years of age. Additionally, children under 16 operating an ATV will now need to be supervised by someone 18 years old or older. “ATVs are very dangerous and it’s unbelievable that until now children as young as 10 years old, 4th graders, have been allowed to operate them legally in New York State,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the bill’s sponsor in the Assembly. “ATVs weigh hundreds of pounds and reach speeds of 70 miles per hour or more.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), operating off-highway vehicles (OHVs), including ATVs, involve real risks of overturning, collisions and occupant ejection. The CPSC’s latest report, which tracks OHV accidents between 2016 and 2018, listed 2,211 fatalities—an annual average of more than 700 deaths and 100,000 injuries that required emergency department treatment. ATVs accounted for three-quarters of these fatalities and injuries.
State Senator Peter Harckham, who also sponsored the legislation, believes outdoor recreation should not come at a risk of personal injury. “Our common-sense legislation to raise the age of ATV use from 10 to 14 years old while requiring safety courses will help eliminate potential accidents caused by use of vehicles that can travel as fast as an automobile.”
The CPSC advises that all ATV users get hands-on training from a qualified instructor, and that operators under 16 drive only youth-sized ATV models.
Source: Mid Hudson News