Proposed ATV law restricting young riders gets Doctors support

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Dr. Keith Borg has seen many things in the Emergency Room at the Medical University of South Carolina. One thing he wants to see less is the amount of kids with traumatic brain injuries as a result of All-Terrain Vehicle accidents.

"We can fix broken bones," Borg says. "But we don't have good treatments for traumatic brain injuries and those losses are devastating and life long."

The data is staggering. South Carolina's Health Department says in the last 10 years, 63 children under the age of 17 have died in ATV accidents. Of those 63 deaths, 40 percent were children younger than 9 years old.

"It's horrific both from the data and from a personal perspective and talking to the parents that have had a devastating loss - having a paralyzed child or unfortunately a child that is deceased from an ATV. It's an accident that is preventable," Borg said.

The traumatic brain injury database of South Carolina shows almost 800 kids under 17 had traumatic brain injuries over the past 10 years.

Wednesday morning a bill named Chandler's Law will be presented to a Senate sub-committee. For the past two years the law has been vetoed by former Governor Mark Stanford.

Chandler's Law would put restrictions on young ATV riders in the state by making them complete an ATV safety course, wearing a helmet and riding with an adult on public land mandatory.

After two years of voting against the law, Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms still isn't changing his mind.

"It's just an interesting argument and it brings out a lot of emotion," Grooms said. "Because it's almost as if you're against the bill, then you're for children having a brain injury, which is the farthest thing from the truth. If you start down that road there's no ending and you begin to lose freedoms and liberty. That's the role of the parent not the role of government."

If the law gets a favorable review from the Senate sub-committee it will then be presented to the full committee. If it passes their approval, then it's onto the Senate floor.

South Carolina is one of six states that still does not have laws regulating ATVs.

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