The South Carolina House of Representatives was back in session Tuesday after a 10-day furlough. The first legislation they took up dealt with underage drivers on all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs.
Known as Chandler’s Law (after a 16-year-old boy who died in an ATV accident), it tries to protect children by restricting the ways they can use the vehicles. The bill would ban children nine and under from using ATVs.
Rep. Paul Agnew (D-Abbeville) explained that children seven to nine years old could use certain versions of the vehicle, however.
Originally, it was age nine and under. Then it was brought to our attention that there were vehicles that were manufactured specifically for children under the age of nine– in particular six, seven and eight.
Agnew said those ATVs have speed restrictions that make them safer than full-sized versions. The bill would also require those 15 and under to complete a safety course.
Florence Republican Phillip Lowe called the bill “nanny-state” legislation.
Government cannot protect us from every danger. This is a right that we are freely giving up and you will never get it back.
Children who ride ATVs for hunting or to work on a family farm would not be covered by the law, which drew Lowe’s ire.
Apparently, farmers, ranchers, hunters, trappers are smarter… They’ve got smarter parents. They let their kids do just what they want to do, but if you don’t own one of these, you’re not as smart. You can’t supervise your own child.
The restrictions would expand on public land, such as requiring those younger than 16 to be accompanied by an adult and preventing them from being used at night by anyone.
Lowe said he supports the rules for public land, but thinks what people do on private property is their own business.
This is not the first time such a bill has been brought up. The House passed a similar bill last year which failed to pass the Senate.