Local News

Latest ATV Accident Makes People Wonder Why Helmets Not Mandatory

Posted November 12, 2003

— Another teenager was recovering at home Wednesday night after an ATV accident that killed his friend.

According to investigators, a helmet could have saved 13-year old Layton Taylor, who died Tuesday after trying to jump his all-terrain vehicle over a makeshift ramp near Hope Mills. Another boy riding with Taylor, Cory Cook, survived.

Neither Taylor nor Cook was wearing a helmet.

North Carolina does not require ATV riders to wear helmets. But the accident, and others like it, have some people wondering if that should change.

A day after the deadly accident, a lot of people in the community still were shaking their heads.

Debra Domina said her son, Dustin, often rode ATVs with Taylor.

"It could have been Dustin," Domina said. "Dustin and him (Taylor) hung around and always went four-wheeling together."

According to state law, if you are under 16 years old and ride a bicycle, you have to wear a helmet. If you ride a dirt bike or motorcycle, you have to wear a helmet at any age. But, if you ride a four-wheeler, no helmet is required.

Lawmakers have said they continue to struggle with this issue.

"We're very reluctant to tell property owners what they can do on their own property," said state Rep. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland County. "I mean, I think that's a little bit of governmental interference."

But, the numbers show that more people are dying on ATVs every year.

Last year, 24 people were killed, half of them children. The year before, 22 people died, including nine children. In 2000, 16 people were killed, seven of them children.

For parents like Domina, those numbers -- and Tuesday's accident -- provide proof that children on ATVs need to wear helmets. But in the past 15 years, the only ATV measure to make noise in the General Assembly was one to require registration.


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