Effective July 1,
Chandler's Law regarding children and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding
will be implemented to decrease the rapidly rising number of
ATV-related injuries and deaths in South Carolina.
It's an example of how
MUSC employees involved in legislative advocacy work can end in a
positive way, said Maggie Michael, executive director of the Children's
Hospital Collaborative and director for the Center for Child Advocacy
who helped push the legislation.
"You have to be the
squeaky wheel," she said. "You have to build influence to affect public
policy and create change."
Forty-four states have
enacted ATV riding laws for children, and many of these states have
seen reductions in the number of ATV deaths and accidents since those
laws went on the books. The law becoming effective could not be
timelier, with the death of 11-year-old Kershaw resident Kyle Kelly on
June 25 from not wearing a helmet and riding the wrong size ATV.
While the American Academy
of Pediatrics promotes the idea that no child under 16 should operate
an ATV, the South Carolina legislature has initiated a different
approach for this largely rural state. A full copy of the law can be
found at http://www.ChandlersATVlaw.com.
Fred Tecklenburg, M.D.,
children's hospital pediatric intensive care unit medical director,
said the hospital has treated numerous children with fatal or serious
injuries as a result of riding ATVs that were not the right size for
their age or most often, because they were unsupervised and not wearing
safety gear when riding.
"We're supporting this law
at MUSC, because it's a step in the right direction. My hope is that
this law will mean I see fewer children with life-altering injuries, or
worse, children dying as a result of riding on ATVs."
In an effort to make sure
that all current and future riders and their parents are familiar with
the law, the South Carolina Children's Hospital Collaborative, of which
MUSC is a founding member, has created a website, ChandlersATVlaw.com,
to educate the public on the law and provide information on training
sites around the state. SafeKids South Carolina, S.C. Department of
Health and Environmental Control and the University of South Carolina's
Children's Law Center were also instrumental in helping the
collaborative initiate and implement communication efforts regarding
the new law.
Steve Saylor worked for more than eight years to get Chandler's Law
passed. They lost their 16-year-old son, Chandler, in an ATV accident
The focus of these
educational efforts is to communicate to parents who choose to let
their children ride ATVs that they are legally responsible for what
their child does or doesn't do when riding. In addition, the group
wants parents to promote the idea of adventure and safety coexisting
together to reduce ATV injuries and deaths.
No one knows this message
better than Pam Saylor, Chandler's mother who has worked for more than
eight years with her husband, Steve, to get the bill passed. They lost
their 16-year-old son, Chandler, in an ATV accident in 2003.
"This law is not about
trying to judge people or tell them what to do for the sake of telling
them what to do," said his mother.
"This law is about making
children in our state safer. ATVs are here, and they aren't going
anywhere. Chandler's Law protects children by requiring that they are
riding the right size ATV for their age, wearing the right safety gear
and getting the proper training to operate an ATV. Parents have the
power to create better, safer riders. We hope that parents across the
state will join us in reducing the number of ATV tragedies and
life-altering accidents involving the children of South Carolina."
To see more of the
Saylors' story and why they worked for an ATV law, go to http://www.ChandlersATVlaw.com.
Rules of the road
for all-terrain vehicles
- Always wear a
Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves,
long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved
roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law. ATVs are
designed to be operated off-highway.
- Never carry a passenger
on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV
specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that's
right for your age.
- Ride only on designated
trails and at a safe speed.
- Supervise riders
younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
- Chandler's Law requires
that children complete a hands-on ATV safety training course approved
by the ATV Safety Institute.
http://www.ATVsafety.org or call 800-887-2887.