VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - 12 people died on off-road vehicles already this year and that's just in Indiana.
In the Hoosier state last year, there were 15 deaths during the entire year.
5 crashes here in the Valley led to serious injuries and even death.
So we wanted to know, what's causing this scary trend? And how can we stop it?
In the video to the left, this is all that's left of an ATV after a crash in Clay County.
It happened about a week ago, and even still, the images serve as a scary reminder to how deadly these off-road-vehicles can be.
Four people were riding this single-seat ATV. Three toddlers no more than 2 years old and one 22 year old.
The crash that left this behind, killed everyone except one 2 year old.
Captain John Moats calls these situations avoidable.
"It's devastating to everyone. Most times they can be easily prevented. But, people sometimes are just a little lax and think they won't get hurt. It's ok to go riding,” said Captain Moats.
In the crash that left that burned ATV behind, DNR reports alcohol may have been a factor.
A Sullivan County man died within the last two weeks in a similar crash.
The cause? Alcohol and excessive speed.
Captain Moats said those two factors are all too often part of these crashes.
"They don't mix when you're operating any type of vehicle. Let alone an A-T-V with this type of power,” said Captain Moats.
But he also sites ignorance as a major problem.
"It's the lack of familiarization with the vehicle. They're more powerful than what they think they are. Probably haven't been through any classes, haven't had an instructional period and they just jump on them and go,” said Captain Moats.
"None of these vehicles should be operated without some type of protective gear. Most should go by manufacturer suggestions. Helmets, gloves, eye protection, boots, some type of footwear."
There's even a golden rule that might have prevented this accident.
"If a child's too small to put a helmet or protective gear on, then the child's too small to be on that vehicle….Blink of an eye. In the blink of an eye. Life or death,” said Captain Moats.
Captain Moats also warns against driving ATV’s on regular roads.
You can see on this map here, there are some Indiana counties were it is legal.
But it is also illegal in other counties.
Moats said ATV accidents happen all the time, and many times, they're not reported.
If on private property, people often don't call law enforcement, which is against the law.
You don't have to call DNR, you can call any law enforcement agency to help.
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