RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – The state of Texas has the highest number of reported all-terrain vehicle related deaths.
This is according to a recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The McAllen South Texas Health System and McAllen Police Department are now joining forces in a summer safety campaign aiming to save lives.
According to a surgeon at a McAllen medical center, two-million emergency room visits for ATV related accidents were registered nation-wide between 2000 and 2015. 25% being children under the age of 16.
“I’ve never seen an ATV accident patient arrive with equipment on. I’ve never seen a helmet and full body protection,” Says Lerone Simpson, trauma surgeon at McAllen Medical Center.
In a demonstration this morning, doctors showed us how an injured patient is treated.
Dr. Simpson says the impact of injury can be reduced by 50% just by using the proper equipment.
Neck, chest, and spinal cord injuries are only a few that can result in paralysis, with brain injury being the most damaging.
“If someone has the proper helmet on, not only is it protecting facial bone fracture, but it’s also protecting their brain, which is the most important thing. That impact that they would otherwise feel being thrown from an ATV, that helmet would absorb most of that impact,” Continues Lerone Simpson.
The mother of an eight-year-old dirt bike rider, Alejandra Ortega, whom is also an injury prevention coordinator with the hospital, shares how she ensures her son’s safety by outfitting him in full safety gear and using a speed limiter.
“He does have the governor on the throttle, which keeps it in first gear. It’s kinda like him riding a bicycle. So, he’s gonna go as fast as he can ride a bicycle,” says Alejandra Ortega, Injury Prevention Coordinator.
Ortega shares how severe an accident can be.
“We’ve seen a lot of cases where sometimes it’s just a short-term disability. They may have a broken bone in a month or so, they wear a cast and they’re healed. They’re all better. Now they can have long-term disabilities where they’re paraplegic. They won’t be able to walk anymore, and they can even die,” says Alejanda Ortega.
The ATV Safety Institute offers free training classes every second Saturday of the month in Brownsville. For more information you can dial 1-800-887-2887.
McAllen Police wants to remind riders operation on public roadways is prohibited unless the road is not an interstate or limited access highway.