Focus turns to ATV safety after deadly accident

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- If you've ever ridden an ATV, you know how fun a day of riding can be.

Take your mind off of safety for one second, however, and things can quickly turn dangerous.

Case in point:  an accident this weekend along a public road in Russell County that left one boy dead.

Investigators say irresponsible driving may have led to the crash.

[notes:on the phone 2]

"[They] failed to yield to the 'Game and Fish' vehicle and was subsequently struck by the 'Game and Fish' vehicle," explained Alabama State Trooper Zachary Harrelson, referring to the truck of a game warden also involved in the accident.  The warden is on administrative leave for the time being.

It's a growing statistic.  In 2007, the Alabama Department of Public Safety recorded 121 ATV accidents on public roads in Alabama.

94 people were hurt.  Thirteen died.

"These are becoming either more popular a vehicle or it is that younger children are riding them or spending more time on them," explained Dr. Don Williamson, State Health Officer.

As it stands, the recommended age to ride an ATV is 16--three years older than the kids in the accident.

Also, Alabama doesn't have a helmet law, but wearing one is strongly recommended.

"They can be dangerous if you don't ride them correctly, but they can also be as safe as you want them to be," said Kris Crenshaw, and ATV salesman.

While training isn't required by law in Alabama, many ATV dealers offer courses.

Sometimes, manufacturers will even foot the bill in the name of safety.