Many of the stories begin the same way:
"A 6-year-old girl was killed in an accident while she was riding on an all-terrain vehicle," reads one 1997 account.
"A 15-year-old from Mingo County has died from head injuries suffered in a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle accident," from a 1996 crash.
"A 16-year-old Doddridge County boy has died, the victim of an all-terrain vehicle accident near Wilbur," a 1999 report reads.
Three ATVs, three children, three deaths.
And there are dozens of stories like those.
A now six-year crusade to make ATVs safer will be reborn this year when state lawmakers return to Charleston this week.
Since 1982, 218 West Virginians have died on all-terrain vehicles, according to state and federal statistics.
And in the past three years, an average of 21 state residents a year have died on ATVs, according to the West Virginia University Center for Rural Emergency Medicine. One in every four West Virginians killed on ATVs during that time was a child less than 16 years old.
This year's version of the ATV safety bill will start with four main points, bill sponsors say:
For supporters such as the bill's past and current sponsor, Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, it's time to tighten safety restrictions.
In a half-dozen previous tries, ATV safety legislation has buckled under the weight of confusing amendments or it simply has stalled before receiving a single vote.
From 1985 to 2001, children under the age of 16 made up 37 percent of ATV deaths, according to a national study by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Per capita, West Virginia leads the nation in ATV deaths. Yet West Virginia is one of seven states without ATV safety legislation.
"I think the public sentiment toward this issue has changed dramatically in six years," Oliverio said.
Sen. Mike Ross, D-Randolph, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, has opposed past forms of ATV legislation.
Ross uses ATVs for his oil and gas properties and advocates them as a tool, but also sees a need for safety.
"Not everybody is an outlaw rider or a renegade," Ross said.
Like Oliverio and the ATV industry, Ross said he supports safety regulations.
A sticking point in past years, and one that could arise during this year's session, is the helmet regulation.
In dealerships and on advertisements, riders wear helmets in sales photos.
Countless warnings are permanently installed on the body of ATVs.
A debate surely will arise over whether helmets should be required on private property, the age limit for helmet laws and who will enforce such a rule, Ross said.
As in the past, Leff Moore, a lobbyist who represents ATV dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers, is vocal about this year's legislative proposal.
"I think the industry's position is pretty clear," Moore said. "There's a warning notice in front of you every time you swing your leg over that machine. It's absolutely clear."
It becomes a culture
When legislators proposed and passed legislation in 1997 requiring young bicycle riders to wear helmets, it began what Oliverio refers to as a safe culture.
"In 1996, I dare to say that if you drove around West Virginia you would have been hard pressed to find a child riding a bike with a helmet," he said. "We set a bright-line standard for parents and then children to follow. The standard was for children to wear bike helmets. Parents began buying them, hospitals and insurance companies began offering free helmets."
By passing a law requiring ATV riders to strap on a helmet, Oliverio said, safety-legislation supporters want to invent another culture.
If it worked for bicycles, it could work for ATVs, Oliverio says.
"It begins to create a culture of safety in the mind of that child," he said.
In West Virginia each year, thousands of ATVs are sold and hundreds more are resold, dealers say.
Not a single helmet is required to be sold along with them.
There's no registration or licensing for West Virginia ATV riders, so tracking the machines is nearly impossible, Moore said.
Industry representatives have estimated there are 140,000 ATVs in the state.
In 2002, 17 of the 24 deaths on ATVs in West Virginia involved teens who had not yet seen their 16th birthday or taken their driver's test, according to WVU's Center for Rural Emergency Medicine. Compared to the number of children killed in three of the previous four years, 17 teen-agers killed on ATVs is an improvement.
"The industry has said it will advocate and support state laws," Moore said.
According to CREM, 95 percent of accident victims don't wear a helmet.