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ATV deaths on the rise across Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say they're concerned about the recent upward trend in all-terrain vehicle deaths.

So far this year, 16 people have died in ATV accidents in the state, according to DNR officials. That compares to 14 for all of 2009.

"It's hard to really draw conclusions on why they're happening, other than the reckless operation of the ATVs themselves," said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Safety Education coordinator, in a prepared statement. "ATV riding is very popular in Minnesota, but people are operating ATVs beyond their capability."

DNR officials say rollovers are to blame in many fatalities. Since July 4, ATV rollovers have claimed the lives of six Minnesotans.

In addition, every fatality this year has involved an individual with no formal ATV safety training.

Minnesota had 17 ATV-related fatalities in 2008. A record 24 occurred in 2004.