Kelly Jo Evans, a trauma nurse clinician with CAMC, suggested an ATV safety course last fall after a rash of deaths in the state over the past three years.
West Virginia led the nation with 40 fatalities in 2005 and is well ahead of that pace with 24 deaths so far this year. Evans
has lectured to students about the dangers of ATVs while visiting area elementary schools, but believes a hands-on course will be more beneficial.The American College of Surgeons
suggests local hospitals generate prevention and outreach programs that will have an impact in their area.
"Since we continue to see the death rate climb, I decided this really would be for our community," Evans
said."I thought if I can't teach them (at school), maybe we can if we do an outdoor course."
Finding instructors within the medical field wasn't hard.Last year, Evans
spoke to Doug Douglas, Healthnet's
program manager, who told her, "I know four guys who love to ride."
believes people who treat injured ATV riders are better equipped to convey the dangers of four-wheelers.She
described Bess as a "walking show-and-tell" who can describe numerous injuries he
received while riding when he
"The Healthnet guys are picking these riders up all the time," Evans
suggested one of the reasons why the cla$$es have been relatively empty is because the riders must bring an ATV designed for their size.That shouldn't be an excuse for riders to not sign up, she
"If I get a lot of people calling and telling me they don't have the right size ATV, then I have no problem approaching the dealers and asking them to loan us vehicles for the weekend," Evans
said."I think it has a lot to do with parental involvement." Evans
is hoping the course will reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries in the region.
"We've got so many kids already this summer getting hit by the cars," she
said."They're in places they should be and doing stuff they shouldn't."
Riders can register for this Saturday's cla$$ as late as Friday afternoon by calling 388-7861 or 388-7859. Evans
can provide directions to the West Virginia Off-Road Park, which is located about eight miles south of Southridge Shopping Center along Corridor G.