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Posted: May 11, 2018 1:10 p.m.
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Safety Spotlight

All-terrain vehicle safety considered

In Georgia, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding is an all-time favorite pastime, where most riders enjoy the experience of off-road activities such as trail riding and “mudding”.  ATVs are powerful equipment, with some weighing more than 800 pounds and having the ability to exceed 50 mph. To exacerbate the safety concerns is the ATV’s high center of gravity and the lack of roll bars, safety cages, or seatbelts. Simply stated, ATVs roll easily and can throw riders or worse-roll onto riders; with the potential of causing serious injuries. 

AR 385-10, which also governs motorcycle safety, states that personnel who operate privately owned ATVs should complete appropriate operator safety training. 

First, when operated on any DOD installation, in both on- and off-road modes, all Government-owned or privately owned ATVs (when equipped) must have headlights turned on at all times, except where prohibited by military mission, the SOFAs, or local laws. As a result, Commanders must ensure that all individuals covered by this regulation are wearing the following PPE while operating ATVs or other of-road vehicles on the installation and all Soldiers at any time on or off Army installations.

(1) Helmets. (a) For personnel riding motorcycles and ATVs in the United States, helmets must be certified to meet DOT Safety Standard No. 218, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Standard 22–05, British Standard 6658, or Snell Standard M2005 according to DODI 6055.04, 20 April 2009, Change 2, references (w), (x), (y), and (z). (c) All helmets must be properly fastened under the chin.

(2) Eye protection. Eye protection must be designed to meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1, reference (z) for impact and shatter resistance which includes goggles, wraparound glasses, or a full-face shield (properly attached to a helmet). A windshield or fairing does not constitute eye protection.

(3) Foot protection. Foot protection includes sturdy over-the-ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles (durable leather or ballistic-type cloth athletic shoes that cover the ankles may be worn).

(4) Protective clothing. Protective clothing includes long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens made from leather or other abrasion-resistant material. Motorcycles jackets and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials (such as leather, Kevlar®, or Cordura®) and containing impact-absorbing padding are strongly encouraged. Riders are encouraged to select PPE that incorporates fluorescent colors and retro-reflective material.

(5) Government-owned ATVs. When riding Government-owned tactical ATVs, riders must wear additional PPE. As such, riders’ PPE must include knee and shin guards and padded gloves. Additionally, Unit commanders may authorize using combat helmets for operating ATVs tactical vehicles during operations and training based on an operational risk assessment.

However, before any tactical ATV operations, operators must be trained on the tactical operations and on the controls that have been implemented to mitigate hazards. Curriculum and proficiency training Government-furnished (tactical and non- tactical) ATVs will be tailored to satisfy specific mission objectives. Consequently, riders must both motorcycle safety course and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America-based course.

Remember PPE is a mandatory Always wear the required PPE as stated above and enjoy your trail blazing adventure, but please be safe and look out for others.


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