When will regulators wake up? Exactly a week ago I wrote an article about how Atv accidents kill our children. The front page of this morning's newspaper talked of a 13 year old Ohio child who died when his Atv overturned, slid down an embankment and trapped the child in a creek.
About 30 percent of all Atv deaths and injuries involve kids under 16 according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. They have proposed new rules that can help but, like many government regulations in the last 6 years, they are watered down and industry friendly.
Let's take an example. When Atv's were first introduced they were 3 wheelers. Those are 3 times riskier to use than the more modern 4 wheeler Atv's. So what does CPSC do? They recommend banning them. Problem is, almost all manufacturers agreed not to sell 3 wheeler Atv's in the US several years ago. Like many of these new CPSC recommendations, it sounds good but it has little real value.
Every four minutes, someone is treated in an emergency room for injuries received in an Atv accident. And more than one of them dies every day. 365 days a year. 24 hours a day. That's the numbers.
That's just for starters, but no matter what we do there are two fundamental problems. First, parents need to just say no when children who can't drive a car say they want an Atv instead. With all the disposable income most parents have (and probably some guilt from all the hours spent working to earn that income), it's hard to say no. I was one of those parents too, once upon a time, so how do you say no? Try this. When little Johnny asks for an Atv, pause for a minute and imagine what Johnny looks like in a coffin. Disgusting thought? Right. Scary? You bet. Parents, however, need to be parents.
Second thing we can do? Kick out the politicians who have no backbone to protect our kids. You know, the same ones who have been catering to big business for the last 6 years (or longer), choosing not to enforce consumer protection laws, watering down long-standing safety regulations and bending over backwards to give big business tax breaks while you and I watch the national debt go up and the economy go down.
Let's start with the elected government officials who are in charge of enforcing the law. The state attorney generals. In Ohio, for too long that office has been occupied by business-friendly politicians who have shirked helping consumers and instead did practically everything they could to help out car dealers and their ilk who made big campaign donations.
Atv Lemon Laws are nice, but what we need right now in Ohio is an attorney general who will enforce the law and who cares about kids. That's Marc Dann. He has 3 kids and he cares. Law enforcement supports Dann for attorney general for a good reason, too. After all, they are the ones who deal with enforcement every day and they have seen how useless a career politician can be as Ohio's chief law enforcer.
This blog didn't start out to be about politics, but then again yesterday a 13 year old boy in Fort Recovery, Ohio, was just another 13 year old boy and not a statistic.
Next month, vote for change in the Ohio Attorney General's office. Why? Because kids don't look good in coffins. It's that simple.