North

Carmacks boy's ATV death renews calls for safety laws

The death of a 14-year-old boy in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Carmacks has prompted the Canadian Paediatric Society to call on the Yukon and other jurisdictions to develop ATV safety legislation.

The death of a 14-year-old boy in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Carmacks has prompted the Canadian Paediatric Society to call on the Yukon and other jurisdictions to develop ATV safety legislation.

Dr. Andrew Lynk, who chairs the society's action committee for children and teens, said children are often not capable of handling the four-wheeled vehicles.

"They're overpowered, they're big, they're fast," Lynk, a Nova Scotia pediatrician, said Wednesday. "For the most part, kids who drive them drive them in an unsupervised fashion, and they go up steep hills or they hit ruts, and these machines flip."

Tyson Tulk was pinned against a tree after rolling his ATV on a steep hill on Tuesday afternoon. The incident is still under investigation, but police said the boy was not wearing a helmet at the time.

In light of Tyson's death, Tantalus School in Carmacks postponed its graduation ceremony from Friday to a future date that isyet to be determined.

'We just don't feel they're mature enough'

The society, which has long called for ATV and snowmobile safety laws in Canada, says one-quarter of ATV-related deaths in the country involve children under the age of 15.

"The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that kids under the age of 16 aren't to drive snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles. We just don't feel they're mature enough or ready for it," Lynk said. "Our recommendations are that they should be at least 16, have a training course, and wear a helmet at all times."

While some jurisdictions have adopted some ATV safety laws, the Yukon has no such legislation in place.

Yukon government spokesman Doug Caldwell said requirements to drive an ATV on the highway are similar to those needed to drive a car.

"There's nothing in the act that speaks to anything off the roadways," he said.

Lynk said his society will release a report card next month that will evaluate all Canadian provinces and territories on the issue.

"Unfortunately, as long as provinces and territories allow them to do so [drive ATVs], we're going to see a lot of tragic events like the one that happened to that poor young fellow," he said.

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