Last month, 10-year-old Allison Paige Simmons of Ida, Louisiana was killed after being thrown from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Simmons was one of five passengers, all children, riding on the side-by-side ATV and thrown off after the driver swerved to miss a tree limb.
According to the North Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, none of the children were wearing seat belts or helmets-including the 13-year-old driver-and it has now been confirmed that a blow to Simmons's head is what ultimately killed her. Riding ATVs is a popular activity for kids during the summer and this incident reminds parents of the dangers, especially for young children.
Experts say that side-by-side vehicles are not appropriate for a child to drive because ATVs can hit speeds of 55 miles per hour and weight upwards to 1,500 pounds.
Unfortunately, helmets are not required by law for passengers riding off-road vehicles in Louisiana, but are required here in PA, with fines ranging between $50 and $200 for those who fail to adhere to the rules. Many veteran riders claim from personal experience that they know how hard one's head can hit the ground in a crash and most would not even think about riding a dirt bike or an ATV without one. In addition, experts claim that the lack of ATV and off-road vehicle education is probably the number-one killer in these types of accidents because people who want to purchase off-road vehicles are not required to take classes and learn more about safety. While many say classes should not be a requirement for adults, most agree that anyone under the age of 18 should be forced to carry a license and take classes.