DNR reminds ATV/UTV operators to follow safety rules

The Wisconsin DNR is reminding all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle operators to...
The Wisconsin DNR is reminding all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle operators to follow safety regulations and guidelines amidst a growing number of fatal ATV/UTV crashes in the state this year. (Charlie Grant, KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:01 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources is reminding all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle operators to follow safety regulations and guidelines amidst a growing number of fatal ATV/UTV crashes in the state this year.

21 people have died as a result of ATV/UTV crashes in Wisconsin so far in 2021, according to the DNR, including four people in the past two weeks. In 18 fatal cases fully investigated by the DNR, only three of the victims were either wearing a helmet or a seat belt, and out of 19 cases with data available, five of the operators were safety-certified.

“Summer is a great time to ride ATVs and UTVs,” Lt. Martin R. Stone, DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator, said. “But please remember to use caution and wear protective gear.”

The DNR says that in addition to wearing a helmet and a seat belt, keeping the speed of your vehicle in check and being aware of hills and other uneven terrain is important.

“So far in 2021, rollover crashes have caused half of the ATV/UTV fatalities in Wisconsin,” Stone said. “It’s important to monitor speed and use caution on rough terrain; some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATVs and UTVs.”

In the last year that data is available, 2019, 22 deaths and 131 injuries were attributed to ATV/UTV crashes in Wisconsin out of 163 crashes. 26 deaths were attributed to ATV/UTV crashes in 2018, with one additional death involving an off-highway motorcycle for a total of 27 deaths.

Anyone that wants to operate an ATV or UTV who was born on or after January 1, 1988 and is at least 12 years of age (ATV) or 16 years of age (UTV) is required to complete an ATV safety certification course in order to operate the vehicles in Wisconsin, with the exception of operating the vehicles on private property owned by immediate family members. The DNR also offers online safety courses and information, which are available on the DNR’s safety education website.

For a safe ride, the DNR offers these tips:

  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride.
  • Wear a seat belt and a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet.
  • In addition to a seat belt and helmet, wear protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Keep your speed in check for the terrain, visibility conditions and your experience.
  • Remember that some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Please be careful while traversing hills or uneven terrain.
  • Know before you go. Review all ATV/UTV laws here.

If you’re involved in a crash, state law requires the operator to report the incident to law enforcement officials, and also submit a written report to the DNR.

For more information on ATV or UTV recreation in Wisconsin, you can visit the DNR’s website.

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