Children Most at Risk for Injuries from All-Terrain Vehicles
October 10, 2020
According to a recent press release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), riding all-terrain vehicles or ATVs can result in serious – sometimes even fatal – injuries. Nearly 82,000 individuals received emergency medical treatment for injuries associated with ATV riding in 2018. Children and teens 16-years-old and younger accounted for 25% of those injuries. To limit dangerous accidents from happening, the CPSC is warning all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts of all ages to take certain precautions before riding an ATV.
All-terrain vehicles are motorized off-highway vehicles with four tires, straddle seats, and handlebars for steering control. There are generally two types of ATVs: one designed for a single operator use, and the other seating both an operator and a passenger (who typically sits behind the driver). All ATVs come with size and age requirements. It is critical to observe the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid entirely preventable injuries from happening. For example, the risk of ATV-related injuries skyrockets when children drive adult-sized vehicles and when passengers ride on ATVs designed to fit only one.
Risk Factors for ATV Accidents
The CPSC reports an average of nearly 600 ATV-related fatalities each year. There have been more than 15,000 deaths related to riding all-terrain vehicles since the early 1980s, when the CPSC first began investigating associated injuries and fatalities. The agency notes that there may be more fatalities than the initial reports suggest and that researchers will continue to investigate. With hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of deaths, the CPSC says that one of the best ways to reduce hazards is for riders to know that ATVs are not toys and that they need to take related safety issues seriously.
Certain risk factors increase a person’s chances for getting injured while riding an all-terrain vehicle, such as:
- Riding the wrong-sized vehicle by failing to comply with manufacturing height and/or weight requirements
- Not having adequate training from a qualified instructor, such as an ATV Safety Institute (or ASI) course
- Not wearing safety gear and other personal protective equipment. Riders should always wear a helmet, eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, boots, and gloves
- Failing to meet age requirements. Children under the age of 16 should never ride adult-sized ATVs. Instead, they should only drive age-appropriate (i.e. youth model) vehicles
- Riding ATVs on paved surfaces. All-terrain vehicles are meant to drive on unpaved, off-road terrain, not for driving on paved surfaces. Riding ATVs on paved surfaces also increases the chances of an operator or passenger getting into a collision involving a truck, car, or another vehicle
- Drinking alcohol before riding. Drinking alcohol reduces a person’s reaction times and impairs their judgment. Never drink and drive or ride as a passenger an ATV
- Riding with more passengers than there are seats. Be sure to always follow ATV capacity requirements
Remember, young children are especially at risk for getting into an ATV-related accident, so be sure to provide the necessary supervision and to follow all safety instructions.
Injured? We can Help
In addition to the inherent dangers that already accompany all-terrain vehicles, consumers sometimes also sustain injuries that result from product defects or the vehicle being designed in an unreasonably unsafe manner. Manufacturers are legally obligated to produce and sell safe products, but in some cases they value profits over safety, knowingly endangering millions of unsuspecting American consumers. If a defective or unsafe ATV injured you or one of your loved ones, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
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Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.