The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that the number of people who die or are injured using ATVs each year is on the rise. The federal agency is asking that riders stay vigilant and be safe on the trails this summer.
The summer is a notoriously dangerous time for ATV riders and statistics show death and injury rates skyrocket as temperatures rise. On average, from 2004 to 2006, the deaths of children younger than 16 rose a shocking 65% from March to April. Adult deaths rose 85% over the same period. The peak of ATV-related injuries occurs in July and the CPSC is trying to put the word out early that drivers must stay aware of their surroundings and practice safe ATV driving habits to avoid a similar rise this summer.
On average, each year from 2004 to 2010, there were nearly 700 ATV-related fatalities. Each year also saw close to 136,000 injuries that required emergency room visits. Though these thankfully did not result in death, many such injuries can be life altering.
This year alone the CPSC says that it has received reports of some 130 adults and 28 children under the age of 16 who have died in ATV-related incidents across the country. The busy summer holiday season sees a huge increase in the number of accidents and this year is off to a bad start with the Memorial Day holiday weekend alone accounting for the deaths of 14 adults and 3 children. The government is urging caution while out on the trails as the July 4th holiday weekend is coming up.
Most of the deaths and injuries occur when an inexperienced driver loses control of an ATV, is thrown from an ATV, overturns the vehicle, or collides with a fixed object. Those drivers with more than on year of experience operating an ATV have dramatically lower risk of injury and death than brand new drivers. Practice really does help in the case of ATV accidents as drivers develop comfort behind the wheel and experience with how to properly operate the device. Off-road driving is very different than cruising down the street and, as such, it requires special training to understand how to best operate an ATV.
The CPSC offers the following tips to help riders have a fun and safe riding experience this summer:
- All ATV drivers, whether young or old, should take a hands-on ATV safety course from a certified instructor.
- Always, and this can’t be stressed enough, always wear protective gear, especially a helmet.
- Do not put more people on an ATV than is recommended. If you’re driving a single-rider ATV do not carry a passenger.
- Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. Though this may seem like odd advice, ATVs have solid rear axles, which makes turning on paved surfaces difficult and dangerous. Driving on paved roads actually increases the chance that the ATV will overturn.
- Do not allow children younger than 16 years old to drive or ride on adult ATVs. Children younger than 16 years old lack the skills to safely drive such a vehicle and more than 90% of all injuries to children occur from their presence on an adult ATV.
- Finally, children younger than 6 should not be on an ATV at all.
No one ever expects bad things to happen when out having fun, but the fact is riding an ATV can be a dangerous activity. As Huntsville injury attorneys, we routinely see the devastating aftermath of collisions caused by such accidents. Over the years we have handled various products liability lawsuits, some involving ATV accidents that were caused by defective ATVs (4 wheelers). If you or a loved one have been the victim of a four wheeler or ATV accident contact our experienced Alabama personal injury lawyers today.
Source: “Annual Rise in Summer ATV Deaths Prompts CPSC to Urge Safety on the Trails,” published at CPSC.gov.