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Letcher has state’s second-worst rate for injuries in ATV accidents

Forty-three Letcher County residents were injured in all-terrain vehicle accidents between 2001 and 2005 – the secondhighest rate in Kentucky. have them,” Kentucky State Police Trooper Tony Watts said of the vehicles. “We have mountain terrain which makes them more dangerous when they ride them.”

Pike County had 80 ATV injuries during the same period, the most in the state. Harlan County had the third-highest number of injuries, 39.

Bell County had 37 injuries, followed by Perry County, with 31 injuries, and Floyd County, which had 29 injuries. Twenty-five injuries were reported in Knox County. Breathitt and Knott counties each had 20 ATV-related injuries.

Watts said the number of ATV injuries could be more if all accidents were reported to police.

“The ATV accidents that are on private property might not get reported,” said Watts. “We’re not required to do anything on that. It could be a lot higher than that. That is just the most accurate information we have.”

Because Kentucky led the nation in ATV deaths between 2002 and 2005, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Kentucky State Police to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to ATV accidents.

Watts and other KSP troopers throughout Kentucky recently participated in an all-terrain vehicle safety course aimed to prevent ATV deaths and injuries in the state. Watts learned how to teach people to ride ATVs safely to reduce the risk of accidents.

Watts said there is an issue of children not wearing helmets, proper clothing, boots, or safety goggles. He said children should only ride all-terrain vehicles that are intended for their size. He said some parents buy ATVs that are too big for small kids.

State police say 24 people have died in ATV-related accidents in Kentucky since January 1. Twenty of those killed were not wearing helmets or protective gear.

Police say there have been at least 20 ATV accidents in Letcher County this year, resulting in two deaths and 18 injuries. Watts said the number of injuries and fatalities could even be higher, because some ATV deaths are recorded as automobile deaths or are not recorded at all if they do not occur on a roadway.

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