ANCHORAGE (AP) The chairman of a federal safety panel will ask Alaskans how to reduce the rising number of all terrain vehicle injuries and deaths.
Hal Stratton, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, will hold a hearing in Anchorage July 8. He also may travel to Dillingham and Bethel.
Nationwide, the number of ATVs in use rose 40 percent between 1987 and 2001 but accidents that sent people to emergency rooms increased by 50 percent.
In 2001, more than 110,000 people were injured one-third of whom were 16 or younger. Nearly 300 drivers or passengers were killed.
In Alaska, where four-wheelers are used for recreation and as a major form of transportation in roadless villages, a handful of people every year die in ATV accidents.
Several national groups have called for restricting ATV use by children. Stratton said none has proposed banning the machines.
The commission has no power to regulate ATV use. Its job is to determine whether anything can be done to make ATVs safer, leaving to Congress or the states how to implement changes.
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