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Boys Drown After Driving ATV Into Pond

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Two young boys drowned after an ATV accident the afternoon of April 12, 2015.

According to a news report in The Sacramento Bee, California Highway Patrol officials reported that the boys were identified as Blake Lee Cronkhite, 5, and Jayden James Secrest.

Officials said the boys were riding a
50cc ATV, which are the smallest gas-powered all-terrain vehicles.

It is considered appropriate for children and marketed to young people by the companies that manufacture them. The boys reportedly lost control of the vehicles and crashed into the pond.

Despite efforts on the part of boys’ fathers to save them, the children died.

Both men were apparently working on the property but lost sight of the boys at some point. No charges have been filed or citations issued.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these two young children who died tragically. We offer our deepest condolences.

ATV Statistics

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were reports of 13,043 ATV-related fatalities occurring between 1982 and 2013. There were 426 ATV deaths in 2013, 513 in 2012 and 620 in 2011.

From 1982 to 2013, the CPSC received reports of 3,023 deaths involving children under 16 years of age. This represents 23 percent of the total number of reported ATV-related fatalities.

Of the 3,023 reported ATV fatalities involving children under 16, 1,303 or 43 percent were under the age of 12.

Young Children & ATVs

California law prohibits children 13 and under from operating all-terrain vehicles on public land without adult supervision. Youths between 14 and 17 must have an ATV safety certificate or be supervised by an adult who has such a certificate.

But the law does not apply to ATV use on private property.

The mini-sized ATVs used by the young children who died are marketed to youths including smaller children. These vehicles come equipped with speed governors to limit velocity and parents can operate key-chain remotes that can bring the vehicles to a stop instantly.

That said, should parents allow children 10 or younger to operate ATVs. As California personal injury attorneys who represent injured victims and their families, we don’t believe these vehicles are appropriate for young children, certainly not 3-year-old or 5-year-old children who are still learning and improving on fine motor skills.

ATVs are operated on uneven terrain.

Children with little or no experience operating motorized vehicles can very easily lose control and suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries. This tragic incident certainly serves as a reminder to those adults who allow youths to use ATVs to closely supervise their kids.

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