As we reported in June on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, lawmakers passed the new rules 141-12. The governor is soon expected to sign it into law. Among other things, it will increase the minimum age for riding an ATV to 14, from 10. It is named for Sean Kearney, an 8-year-old Waltham boy who died after a 500 pound ATV flipped over and pinned him face down in the sand.
Katie Kearney said “this bill will be one of the toughest in the nation.”
In 2004, and 2005, nearly 1,000 children were injured in Massachusetts ATV accidents. During the past 20 years, more than 2,500 children under the age of 16 have died in ATV accidents nationwide, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The new rules will also restrict the size of an ATV riders ages 14 to 16 are permitted to ride and will require riders in that age range to be supervised by someone over the age of 18. Riders under the age of 18 will also be required to take vehicle safety and responsibility courses before riding all recreational vehicles, including motorcycles, dirt bikes and snowmobiles.
Ken Anderson, president of the Massachusetts ATV Association, said the pending new law is unfair, considering “that the majority of injuries occurred in circumstances that were already in violation of existing statute, regulation, and common-sense best practices.”