Vidor girl killed while driving all-terrain vehicle
Last updated 9/6/2022 at 5:15pm
A 12-year-old Vidor girl was killed Sunday night in an accident in which she was driving an off-road side-by-side utility vehicle. Three passengers on the vehicle were injured. Vidor police attributed the accident to the girl going to fast, losing control, and running off the roadway.
Vidor police said the girl is Kaylee Woodward, a student at Vidor Junior High. Counselors at the school were helping students with their grief on Tuesday morning after the Labor Day holiday.
Police said the accident was about 7:30 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of South Lakeside and Springdale. The girl was taken by family members to Best Med Emergency Clinic in Vidor. Medical personnel there called for Acadian Ambulance and the child was then taken to the Trauma Center at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, where she died.
Off-road vehicles include All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) which are described by the industry as having three wheels and a seat for one person, the driver. A Utility Task Vehicle, also known as a side-by-side, or SxS, has seats for passengers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under the age of 16 without a driver's license should be driving an off-road vehicle.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the off-road vehicles should never be driven on public roads. The department reports children younger than six should not ride or drive the vehicles. ATVs or UTVs of 70 cc are appropriate for ages 6 and older. Children ages 12 through 15 should stick to vehicles of 70 to 90 cc. Teens age 16 and up through adults may be able to use 90cc-plus power.
TP&WD said state law requires helmets be worn in off-road vehicles along with appropriate seat belts.
The vehicles are not allowed to be operated in Texas by anyone younger than 14 and then accompanied by a parent or responsible adult with a driver's license.
Some UTV side-by-sides are allowed on public streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. However, they must meet vehicle standards and include an eight-foot-tall flag pole with an orange triangle at the top be attached to the back. A UTV on a public street must also have working taillights and headlights.
Even with meeting the qualifications for being on a public street, the off-road vehicles are prohibited on Texas highways.
Some public beaches allow off-road vehicles and Texas requires those drivers to complete a safety certification course.
Exceptions for operating the off-road vehicles are allowed for farmers or ranches traveling less than 25 miles, and for public utility workers and law enforcement officers.