ATV Regulation In Question

ATV Deaths: ATV over crime scene tape and cadaver
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering how closely to regulate the all-terrain vehicle industry, amid calls by concerned parents for tougher rules.

The parents insist the industry needs a wakeup call, reports consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen on The Early Show. Too many kids, they say, are being injured and killed on ATVs. This summer, more than 40 have died while using them.

The ATV industry counters that current state laws are sufficient, though ATV riders need better parental supervision, along with improved training for kids and wider use of helmets.

The CPSC has ordered a top-to-bottom review of the issue.

One of the parents pressuring the CPSC is Carol Ellert Keezer, who says she lives with a hole in her heart. Two years ago, she lost her youngest son, Alex, at what was supposed to be a fun family getaway.

"About 6 o'clock that evening, I got a phone call, and the person on the other end of the line was hysterical," Keezer told Koeppen in Keezer's Defiance, Ohio, home.

Twelve-year-old Alex had been riding an ATV in the woods. When the vehicle tipped, Alex was trapped underneath. The vehicle weighed as much as 500 pounds, Keezer says.

Alex was riding an adult-size ATV, without a helmet.

At the time, Carol thought his death was a freak accident. "I'd never heard of anyone else that was killed on an ATV before," she says.

But she soon found other mothers who had lost children, and together, they formed a group called Concerned Families for ATV Safety.

In May, the group went to Washington, D.C., to lobby the CPSC and congress for stricter safety standards. They want a federal ban on the sale of adult-size ATVs for use by children younger than 16.

"Warning labels, manuals and voluntary training courses are not preventing our children from dying," Keezer said at a news conference at the time.

The weight of the machines is what kills kids, the parents point out.

Safety advocates point to the numbers in asserting ATVs need better regulation, Koeppen notes.

Children account for nearly a third of ATV fatalities. On average, 121 children die each year. Some 36,000 go to emergency rooms after ATV accidents.