Calls for safe ATV driving follow Henniker, Lancaster crashes
Two recent ATV crashes, including one in Henniker that sent a 14-year-old boy to the hospital with head injuries, have prompted the state Fish and Game Department to urge drivers to operate responsibly.
The boy, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was believed to be discharged from Concord Hospital by yesterday afternoon, according to Fish and Game. On Monday afternoon, officers responded to Quaker Street, where the vehicle had rolled off the road and into a ditch. All-terrain vehicles are not permitted on Quaker Street, officials said. A day earlier, a 10-year-old female passenger was taken to the hospital after an ATV rollover in Lancaster on a nonpermitted trail.
The crashes highlight the danger of operating on unapproved public ways, said Fish and Game conservation Officer Delayne Brown.
An investigation by the Henniker police and state Fish and Game is ongoing, Brown said. Preliminary findings revealed the boy was alone on an unregistered vehicle when he lost control, possibly due to speed, and rolled off the road. The police found a helmet at the scene, but it was not on or properly fastened to the driver at the time of the crash, the police said.
There are more than 6,900 miles of trails permitted for off-road ATV use, and staying on those trails is the safest way to operate. “Usually the approved areas are safely enough off the road,” Brown said. On “some of the town roads there aren’t much of a shoulder. There are plenty of signs out there that clearly show traveling motorists that they are driving on an OHRV route.”
Whether the boy had taken required safety courses had not been determined, Brown said.
Fish and Game strongly recommends that all drivers participate in a free safety education class for off-road vehicles. State law requires that all operators must possess either a valid driver’s license or must have successfully completed an approved OHRV safety education class if they are operating off their own property. Classes typically take one day and are held throughout the state. Any operator under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 18. For more information about off-road regulations and safety, visit wildlife.state.nh.us.
(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)