5/4/05 Draft VI
ORV safety training access in every county through classroom education. The focus should be on ORV safety and ORV laws and regulations using a standardized state curriculum and a standardized, proctored written safety education test. Where possible, beyond classroom instruction by county sheriff personnel and other certified instructors, ORV safety instruction should provide for optional ‘hands-on” training by willing certified instructors to complement the mandatory classroom safety and law training and the written certification exam. An optional driving test designed to test the student’s driving competency should be available through willing certified instructors. Agency, educational and non-profit organizations conducting an approved course should be able to apply to the DNR for a grant from the ORV Safety Education Fund for costs associated with conducting a course.
Rationale is that the loss of life and health reported by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (2003) and the Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning (2004) are unacceptably high, not to mention significant property loss from accidents. Data from the 1998-99 state wide survey of ORV licensees (Nelson et al. 2000) suggests that only 1/3 of those ages 12-15 riding DNR licensed ORVs had completed an ORV safety course and only 1/6 of those ages 10-11 riding a DNR licensed ORV had completed an ORV safety course. This has led the DNR in the past to not enforce ORV safety certification requirements for youth. Conversely, similar requirements are enforced for hunting (hunter safety taught primarily by trained citizen volunteers), snowmobiling (snowmobile safety taught primarily through county sheriffs) and power watercraft (marine safety taught primarily through county sheriffs). Similar full coverage of youth safety education and subsequent enforcement is now needed in the Michigan ORV program. A majority (63%) of county sheriffs responding to a statewide survey would be interested in offering such an ORV safety course. Completion of the optional “hands-on” class and passing a driving competency test may have additional positive implications related to ORV licensee insurance costs, if such additional instruction and certification is effective in further reducing rider accidents and fatalities.
Fiscal implications are that more classes will need to be held to meet the potential demand for ORV safety instruction and certification in a classroom setting. It is estimated that there is a need to certify about 8,000 youth annually, which is almost three times the approximately 3,000 annually certified over the past decade. With an annual revenue stream of $175,000 ($1 per ORV license annually dedicated to education) and the potential of 8,000 students annually, this provides slightly less than $22 per student, not counting costs to administer such a program. It is appropriate that some portion of ORV safety education money be available to support optional “hands-on” instruction and driving competency testing, including that provided by non-profit organizations. In total, this two step system of education should be more cost effective on