ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New legislation could raise the age requirement for ATV drivers from ten-years old to 14. In New York, you do not need a driver’s license to operate an ATV. Children as young as ten-years old can receive a DMV approved safety certificate that allows them to drive ATVs on “any lands where ATV use is permitted, without adult supervision.” Experts say 400 people are killed every year in ATV accidents and thousands are injured. Over 10% of the victims are children with injuries affecting the head and neck.
Key sponsor of the bill Peter Harckham weighed in, “It’s about safety and keeping young people safe. You know ATV, and can be an incredibly fun experience, but the machines have gotten much faster, much heavier, much more powerful.” The legislation would also change the supervision requirement from 16 years-old to 18. The Adirondack Mountain Club is in support of the proposed legislation saying in part: “Ideally, the age would be increased to 16, but 14 is a good start, and much better than 10 years of age.” But that still allows for children as young as six-years-old to drive on parent-owned property with or without adult supervision.
Greg Goldstein, owner of GT Toys, Motors Sports and Marine said ATV models come with parental controls available, “You can control the speed, you can limit the amount of speed, the 50’s have tethers on them for walk-behind, if you need to shut it down you can pull the tether and it shuts it down on the child.” Goldstein said the maximum speed of the ATV depends on how it’s set up with the parents. “There’s a throttle stop that requires tools and you can make it any speed you want it too, if you want it to crawl, it can crawl, if you want to get an ATV that goes 15 or 18 or 20 miles an hour it’s of big capacity and you’re their parent you can do that,” he explained.