Live Healthy: DHEC’s Health & Environment Blog

Live Healthy: DHEC’s Health & Environment Blog

3 Fast Facts About ATVs in South Carolina

June 07, 2019
atv safety

This week is ATV Safety Week.  All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs, are motorized off-highway vehicles designed to travel on four low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires.  There are two types of ATVs.  Type 1 ATVs are to be used by a single operator and no passenger.  Type 2 ATVs are intended to be used by an operator and a passenger.  ATVs are now “one size fits all.”  The ATV industry recommends that all riders operate the size and type of ATV designed for their age group.  Youth model ATVs are designed for smaller hands and feet, and travel at slower speeds appropriate for younger riders.  Because ATVs require skill and quick thinking, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 16 who are too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate or ride off-road vehicles.

  1. On average, 6 children die from ATV-related injuries in South Carolina each year.
  2. From 1999-2009, 63 children died from ATV accidents in South Carolina.  Nearly 40 percent of those children were age 9 and under.
  3. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 450 children are injured each year in South Carolina on ATVs.

In South Carolina, Chandler’s ATV Safety Requirements Law became effective July 1, 2011. Information from the law includes:

  • Minimum age to operate an ATV is six years old
  • Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult if riding on public land
  • New requirements for children under age 16:
  • Must complete a hands-on ATV rider safety training course approved by the ATV Safety Institute before operating an ATV
  • Must wear a safety helmet and eye protection
  • May not ride an ATV in violation of the manufacturer Age Restriction Warning Label required by Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA)
  • May not carry a passenger on an ATV without a valid driver's license
  • The above requirements, although recommended, do not apply for ATVs in use for farming, ranching, hunting or trapping
  • On private property, law enforcement officers must have probable cause based on plain view observation or when investigating an ATV accident to enter upon private land to charge a parent with a violation of law.
  • ATVs can be registered with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles for purposes of receiving a title. A title makes it easier to prove you own an ATV if it is ever stolen.
  • Additional information about the "Chandler's Law," hands-on ATV rider safety training courses, and Q & A for parents and children, visit

Nationally, 95 percent of children killed on ATVs were riding adult-sized ATVs despite industry recommendations.  Get informed about ATV safety and visit our website:


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