ATV: All Too Vulnerable to Injury
July 20, 2015 / Vehicle Accidents
There’s no question that summer is the time when those who enjoy all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are in their glory. And there’s no denying that ATVs can be a ton of fun. But when operated incorrectly, without safety equipment, or when under the influence, ATVs can be deadly. During one May weekend in 2014, three separate ATV accidents in southern Indiana’s Harrison and Washington counties left one dead and two seriously injured. So many accidents happen during the summer that the period of time between May and September is known as “crunch time.”
Injuries: All Too Frequent
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) most recent report contains ATV injury and death statistics for 2013, and they’re not pretty. Some of the figures are estimates, as reporting is ongoing:
- There were 426 ATV-related fatalities in 2013, and that number is expected to increase with future data. For the most recent year considered to have complete data (2009), ATV-related fatalities numbered 799.
- For the period 1982 through 2013, the CPSC reported that 23 percent of ATV-related fatalities were children under the age of 16.
- For 2013, it’s estimated that the total number of ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries were 99,600. Around one-fourth of these cases involved children under the age of 16.
In Indiana from 2010 through 2013, 49 deaths were reported.
Reasons for Accidents: All Too Common
The majority of ATV accidents arise from tipping or overturning, and collisions. ATVs have a high center of gravity and narrow tires. Even adults can have difficulty maneuvering them, and some ATVs are able to reach speeds of 50 mph. Accidents that happen can be severe, especially if one or more of the following factors are involved:
- Not wearing safety equipment, especially a helmet
- Lack of formal training
- Letting kids drive adult-sized ATVs
- Alcohol or otherwise being under the influence.
Safety: All Too Easy to Implement
ATVs are a hobby requiring that certain precautions be taken when you go out to ride. Use the following list of ideas as your guidelines to improve your chances of an injury-free fun time:
- Take formal training in operating and driving your ATV. Training has been found to be one key to preventing accidents.
- Wear safety equipment that includes, at a minimum, a properly-fitting helmet.
- Allow children to drive only ATVs that are the proper size for them.
- Avoid operating ATVs when under the influence.
Indiana ATV Laws in Brief
The minimum age requirement to ride an ATV unsupervised is 14, so do not allow your younger children to operate one when you are not around to watch them.
An operator’s license is required to cross a highway or operate an ATV on a highway.
Although some counties in Indiana allow an ATV to be driven on county roads, statistics show that the chance of an accident is significant if you do so.
When something goes wrong, we are left to wonder.
If you or a family member were involved in an ATV accident, call Indiana accident lawyer Mike Stephenson. Mike can take a look at your unique situation to determine whether negligence was involved, and if so, whether it was on the part of the ATV’s manufacturer or dealer, the ATV’s owner, or some other third party. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us for immediate help. At Stephenson Rife, when others breach their duty, we keep ours.