With five days left in 2007, it appears as if the number of fatalities in West Virginia attributed to all-terrain vehicle mishaps declined during the past 12 months (44) as compared to the state’s record-setting year for ATV deaths in 2006 (53).

That’s good news.

What it is not, however, is a signal to stop pushing legislation as it relates to ATV safety.

A bitter taste still lingers in many mouths after the significant time investment made during this year’s regular session of the Legislature to try and institute additional safety measures, specifically banning ATV use on all paved roads.

The efforting at the Capitol seemed to be for naught when the legislation was killed at the last minute by the Senate.

Lawmakers who were proponents of the bill, along with representatives of the ATV industry, were infuriated and many vowed to press on.

At the heart of last March’s failure to enact new ATV laws was a provision which would ban passengers on private property. This rankled more than a few senators, including the upper house president, Earl Ray Tomblin, and the Senate Rules Committee yanked it from the calendar.

ATVs need to be banned from paved roads. They weren’t made to operate on pavement. The industry itself voices this claim loud and clear, and, in fact, back laws across the country supporting that position. What other critical information needs to be put out there for sensible people to understand?

Those crafting ATV legislation for the upcoming session need to complete their homework now to make certain the language is right and that the necessary support is on board beforehand.

Too much time and far too much money were spent on this topic during the last session and West Virginians don’t need a repeat of that unacceptable performance.

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