Lois Lee, MD, MPH of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program, spoke at a meeting this afternoon along with State Representatives Peter Koutoujian, Thomas Calter and Viriato deMacedo to brief members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives on proposed legislation that would tighten laws pertaining to the operation of all-terrain vehicles by children. If passed the proposed ATV bill would raise the legal age of operation from 10 to 14, and require parental supervision for any ATV driver under the age of 16.
Lee and state officials were joined by the Kearney family, who told the story of losing their 8-year-old son Sean in 2006, who died from brain injuries sustained in an ATV accident. Sean had been allowed to ride an ATV unsupervised while visiting at a friend’s house.
In addition to pointing out the specific dangers associated with ATVs and young riders, Lee’s presentation provided legislators with concrete data proving age restrictive laws can save lives and reduce injury in regards to motor vehicles. Lee noted that age laws around auto booster seats, car seats and laws regulating young teenage drivers have reduced injury and death rates in each category, sometime by ratios as high as 57 percent.
The ATV bill has already passed in the Mass Senate, and requires a passing vote by the Massachusetts House of Representatives to become law.