Deaths from ATV crashes on the rise in Tennessee

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Deaths from ATV crashes are on the rise in Tennessee.

Just this month, a new law went into effect that allows four-wheeled all terrain vehicles for not only off-road, but also on-road use.

In 2017, the Tennessee Highway Patrol recorded seven deaths from ATV crashes.

The total for 2018, already seeing a 158-percent increase at 11 deaths from ATV crashes.

With the new law, comes several on-road restrictions.

Permitted roads are limited to those with a maximum speed limit of 40 miles per hour.

ATVs must stay at least five miles per hour below that.

The law has 10 requirements on the ATV itself:

It must have headlamps, front and rear turn signal lamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, reflex reflectors, an exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s side of the vehicle, a parking brake, a windshield, a VIN, and seat belts.

As for drivers, they must have a Class D drivers license.

Lt. Bill Miller of the THP said it’s important for those in ATVs and the cars around them to be extra aware on the roads.

“The public is not used to seeing the side by side vehicles, these side by side vehicles are not designed to take an impact collision with a car,” said Lt. Miller. “So really want to educate the public, not only drivers and ATVs, but also general public who drive semis, that these vehicles may be on the roadway, because there’s nothing around the vehicle to protect the occupant.”

Violating the new law means ATV operators could face a fine.

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