All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are recreational, versatile off-road vehicles that can assist in a wide range of tasks or simply be ridden for pleasure. But in addition to their productive and sporting aspects, there are hazards to contend with, too.
ATV Accident Statistics
In 2016, the last year with complete ATV fatality data, 591 riders were killed in ATV accidents in this country. In 2018, over 80,000 riders made detours to hospital emergency rooms. Seventeen percent were admitted.
ATVs typically weigh 600 pounds or more; can reach speeds of 65 mph; possess a high center of gravity; lack a roll bar, safety cage, and seatbelts; and require quick decision-making and shifting of body weight to accommodate environmental conditions. They are not toys.
Sudden, unexpected shifts in landscape, reckless driving, and tip-overs can result in serious injuries. Thrown riders are vulnerable to smashing into solid objects, landing haphazardly, or winding up pinned beneath the ATV. Head and neck injuries are most prevalent, with shoulder/arm injuries a close second. Depending on the terrain, injured riders may not be easily accessible to emergency responders.
ATV Safety Advice
States set their own ATV guidelines and age requirements, which vary widely. Good rules of thumb include:
- Take a safety/training course.
- Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection.
- Only ride during daylight hours.
- Wear long pants; a long-sleeved shirt; riding gloves; and ankle-high (at least), closed-toe footwear.
- Don’t permit kids under age 16 to ride an ATV.
Possible at-fault parties for ATV-related injuries include another ATV driver, the ATV manufacturer (or parts manufacturer), an ATV mechanic, or a property owner responsible for maintaining the area where the accident took place.
If you are injured by an ATV due to someone’s negligence, contact our office to protect your rights by filling out a form here, or by calling (404) 474-0804.