A recent UTV fatality here has prompted state law enforcement officials to again remind the public that helmets and seat belts save lives.
Gary Eddy is the DNR's off-highway vehicle administrative warden. A crash involving a utility-terrain vehicle on August 4 in Oneida County resulted in the death of a person, bringing to 14 the total number of fatalities for all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles in Wisconsin this year.
Eddy says the fatalities have similar circumstances...
"....People have to take the simple step with the use of the helmet. You'd like to see that to be the norm rather than the exception, so we're trying to push the the "Wear It, Wisconsin" campaign. It's similar to what we do with our lifejackets and it makes sense they wear those helmets and seat belts because they save your lives...."
Eddy says in all 14 fatalities - seven on ATVS and seven on UTVs - no one was wearing a helmet and only one individual on a UTV was wearing a seatbelt. He says anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, and that helmet must meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Eddy says 13 of the 14 fatalities have happened either on public roads or on private property. He says be very careful on paved roads.
All operators born after January 1, 1988 must take a safety course before operating the machines. He says alcohol and speed are also a bad combination when operating recreational vehicles. The new campaign is called "Wear It, Wisconsin"