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WVU experts encourage safety and training to help reduce ATV accidents, deaths

person on ATV driving around orange flags in green grass

WVU experts can offer safety tips for riding all-terrain vehicles. (WVU Photo)

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All-terrain vehicles are a common sight in West Virginia. Many of the state’s residents use the vehicles to head into the woods for leaf peeping, hunting and other activities. West Virginia University Extension Service experts David Snively and Haley Rosson remind people to always keep safety and proper training in mind when using ATVs.


“West Virginia is consistently in the top five states in ATV related injuries and deaths. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 2020 annual report of ATV-related deaths and injuries, we are currently ranked number two in the nation behind Texas for the number of reported fatal incidents and deaths. We’ve had a bad year, and we may surpass Texas when this year’s numbers are published.”

“It’s important to always keep safety in mind. More than 95 percent of ATV crash victims were not wearing a helmet. Doing something so simple as wearing a helmet is likely to reduce injuries and save your life.”

“Take care of your passengers. One in three ATV crashes involves a passenger. First and foremost, if the ATV is not designed for two passengers, then only one person should be riding in the vehicle – no exceptions. Passengers also should take the necessary safety precautions, including wearing a helmet.”

“Just like driving a car, don’t get behind the wheel of an ATV if you’re under the influence. More than one out of five ATV accidents involve drugs or alcohol.” — David Snively, ATV instructor and director, WVU Jackson’s Mill

“ATVs become more dangerous when children drive adult-sized vehicles, or when more than one passenger rides on vehicles built for a single rider. Children under the age of 16 accounted for the third-highest percentage of off-highway vehicle deaths by age group. Nearly 50 percent these deaths were children under the age of 12.”

“Get trained. If you own or ride an ATV, visit and take the online e-course. WVU Extension Service also offers an interactive RiderCourse, where participants learn everything from proper safety equipment to wear and how to identify the parts of an ATV, to learning riding skills such as stopping and swerving quickly, riding over obstacles, and traversing hills. Learn how to operate the vehicle safely so that we can help reduce the number of injuries and deaths in West Virginia.”

“We are fortunate to have a great partnership through a gift and in-kind donations from the Polaris Foundation. This has enabled WVU Extension Service to expand ATV safety education and training throughout the state. More than 12 educators, including county agents, have recently received training and are delivering ATV programming at schools, camps and other activities. The program also increased the number of West Virginia ATV Safety Institute RiderCourse instructors who are teaching hands-on programs statewide. — Haley Rosson, ATV instructor and assistant professor, WVU Davis College

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis 
WVU Extension Service 
304-293-7996 (office) 304-698-2472 (cell); 

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