ATV simulator renews push for increased safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

ATV simulator renews push for increased safety

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

As summer kicks off, more all-terrain vehicles are hitting the terrain all across Iowa.

ATV's are immensely popular, but potentially quite dangerous.

Last year, 9-year old twin boys in Linn County died in an ATV accident, sparking a renewed push for increased ATV safety.

The University of Iowa's College of Public Health had an ATV simulator for people to get just a taste of how a rapid change in terrain could mean a rapid change in how you operate the ATV.

"We have a lot of crashes of kids because they can't control a vehicle," says Gerene Denning, the University of Iowa Emergency Medicine research director. "95-percent of both the deaths and the injuries among children occur on adult-sized vehicles."

She says the all-terrain vehicles can be fun on all most any type of landscape, but that means safety is critical especially for children.

"We hear parents quite a bit that when there is a crash, that they just didn't know how dangerous it was," said Denning.

She says the ATVs are created for adults, so often times when kids are on them, they can't reach the brake because their hands are too small.

Denning says the twins were somehow pinned under an ATV they were riding in Linn County.

Larry Rolfson is a member of a off-highway vehicle enthusiast association.

Rolfson has been riding ATVs for 20 years, he's witnessed several accidents first hand, and safety is key on ATVs.

"A lot of parents think they're babysitters, you know they give them the kid and why don't you go out and enjoy your self and get out of my hair kind of thing, when they need to be supervised when they're on the ATV."

Unfortunately, Rolfson says he witnessed a death in Waterloo while someone was riding an ATV.

He says a majority accidents and injuries on ATVs can be avoided if the operator and passenger practice safety rules so they know what to do if things quickly go wrong.

University of Iowa researchers asked more than 4,600 , 11-16 year-old Iowans if they ride ATVs, 75-percent said they did and 57 percent admitted they were involved in at least one crash.

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