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Posts Tagged ‘accident’

ATVs are not toys for young children

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Health, Local News, Opinion, Sports News, State News, Uncategorized on July 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

DIH LOGOSince 1982, there have been nearly 400 Ohio deaths related to the operation of ATVs, short for “all terrain vehicles.” Like any other power machine, the ATV is a safe, versatile vehicle when handled properly by responsible adults, yet their operation is far too often given over to small children.

According to statistics collected between 1982 and 2012 by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been, nationally, 2,944 ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age and 43 percent of them were younger than 12. The CPSC also states that children 16 and under comprised 24 percent of the total number of ATV related deaths.

Unfortunately, these machines are not being treated like the dangerous power equipment they are but instead as if they are children’s toys. It’s not uncommon to see very small children riding these powerful four-wheelers (and there are still a few three-wheelers out there). Any responsibility for accidents must be laid firmly on the shoulders of the parents as well as those legislators who can’t be bothered with increasing safety regulations on these devices.

Currently, age restrictions on ATV operations in Ohio are, in this commentator’s opinion, far too lenient, and logically inconsistent. For example, as of 2014, the Ohio law states that, “to operate an ATV on public lands, one must have a driver’s license or motorcycle endorsement. The Department of Natural Resources may permit a person at least 12 (years of age) to operate on Department land if accompanied by a parent.”

In the next section the regulations state, “No one under 16 may operate an ATV unless on land owned by a parent or accompanied by an adult 18 or older.” It’s as if, in one regulation, the legislators acknowledge the dangers involved in operating these machines and that people should be qualified, licensed drivers. But in the other, just having a parent there qualifies the kid to be behind the handlebars.

When children operate these machines there are two issues to consider: Experience and size. A licensed driver will have had some training and experience behind the wheel and be at least somewhat more experienced than someone who has never operated a motor vehicle. Arguing also that a farm kid can handle it because of tractors and other equipment is ridiculous too. There is a big difference between disking a field and popping wheelies down a hillside on an ATV.

Additionally, as stable as they may seem, to keep all four wheels on the ground, an ATV requires a certain amount of bulk in the form of the rider. Shifting the weight from side to side, similar to riding a bike, is necessary and aids in steering and stability.

A small child of 6 or 7 years old, and maybe 60 pounds on the outside, simply does not have enough mass or strength to control the machine, regardless of its size. Even the smallest of these vehicles is powerful enough to cause a serious accident if not properly controlled and no safety switch or oversized helmet can outmatch the common sense of not letting a little kid ride it in the first place.

The overturned ATV in the Crooked River.Liability is another major consideration. Without getting into the legal issues, it goes without saying that America is a litigious society and special endorsements are required on insurance policies to cover liability issues related to ATV operation. Even if there is insurance, the parents of an injured child can still sue the owner of the ATV or the property where the accident took place.

In the end, the question must be asked, “Is a few minutes of joy riding on an ATV worth risking the safety or perhaps the very life of a child?” For more information, download a complete copy of Ohio’s current ATV laws: OhioATVLaw

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at www.gerydeer.com.

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Former Dayton television journalist Asa George dead at 34

In Dayton Ohio News, Local News, Media, National News, News Media, State News, Uncategorized, World News on September 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm
Asa George

Asa George, on the set of Fox 45 / ABC 22 News, May 2008. Photo by Gery L. Deer

By Gery L. Deer

Editor, The Jamestown Comet

Former Dayton broadcast journalist Asa George was found dead in her suburban Milwaukee home on September 6 after family members expressed concerns to police regarding her safety. According to a report by the Milwaukee Journal, George’s father, who lives in California, had been unable to reach the 34-year-old for four days and called the local police to check on her.

CBS television affiliate WDJT-TV cited a Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office report stating that firefighters entered the home through a window where they found a badly decomposed female body in a tub full of water. A malnourished boxer dog, two empty vodka bottles and numerous prescription medications were reportedly discovered as well. The body was positively identified as that of Asa George on September 12 after dental records were received from Dayton.

The Journal reported that relatives informed investigators that George had battled alcoholism for several years. Family members reportedly told police that her career had suffered greatly because of her drinking problem, and she had received treatment for it several times.

A press release provided by the West Allis Police Department stated, “Officers, detectives and members of the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident to include positive identification and cause/manner of death.”  Although identification has been confirmed, the medical examiner’s office has yet to release a cause of death pending toxicology results.

Asa George was the cover story for the May 29, 2008 edition of the Times Community Newspapers' "Your Home" magazine, written by Gery L. Deer

Asa George was the cover story for the May 29, 2008 edition of the Times Community Newspapers’ “Your Home” magazine, written by Gery L. Deer

Early risers became acquainted with George in 2004, when she became co-anchor on the WKEF-ABC22/WRGT-Fox45 morning news programs. In 2008, Xenia Daily Gazette columnist Gery L. Deer interviewed George for a special spotlight cover story in the Times Community’s Your Home magazine where she opened up about her life and career.

“I was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but only lived there about a year before moving to Houston, Texas,” she said. “I graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism and then on to the University of Salamanca in Spain where I studied Art History and Spanish.” Prior to coming to the Miami Valley, George worked as a reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Austin, Texas.

At the time of the Your Home interview, George seemed content to call Dayton home. “Dayton has been a great place for me,” George said. “I have grown professionally, and people here have been so nice and welcoming. I love the fact that I get to meet so many people, whether through reporting or at charity events.”

George was an avid animal lover and regularly volunteered for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, doing everything from acting as master of ceremonies at local events to fostering a puppy.  For three consecutive years, she hosted the Furry Scurry and Hair Ball fundraiser events. “Anything the Humane Society needs me to do, I am there for them,” she told Your Home. George was also a great supporter of the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Television journalism can be an overwhelmingly busy job, but while in Dayton, George always seemed to find time for friends and family. “I love to spend time with friends and eating out; sushi is my favorite, and I also enjoy cooking,” she once said.

Other relaxing time, she explained, was devoted to more active personal endeavors such as riding her motorcycle, painting and lifting weights.  “I also enjoy boxing and riding my motorcycle,” she said. “I also love to travel.” George left Dayton in 2009 and returned to Wisconsin where she held her anchor position at channel 58, WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, before she became a freelancer in 2011.

During her short broadcast career, George was recognized several times for outstanding work. In 2004, she received the Nebraska Associated Press Award for General News and in 2006 was honored by the Ohio Associated Press.

IMG_6310Editorial Note: I had the privilege of knowing Asa George, but only for a very short time. She was always pleasant, fun and thoughtful, a credit to our profession. In light of this terrible tragedy, I hope she finally has peace and wish for everyone to keep her memory bright and honor her life. She will be missed.

– Gery L. Deer