All-terrain vehicles, better known as ATVs, were made available to the public for recreational riding back in the 1980s. Since that time the use of ATVs has increased and thousands of Americans ride these vehicles on trails and open terrain almost every day. ATVs are not meant to be ridden on public or paved roads and doing so is prohibited in most states.
According to the National Trauma Data Bank, ATVs are more dangerous than dirt bikes and just as dangerous as a motorcycle. Data on ATV safety indicates that in 2011 more than 107,000 persons were treated for ATV injuries and there were more than 300 fatal collisions nationwide.
In fact, in a report from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety there were more than 330 ATV crashes reported in 2006 with 3 percent being fatal accidents. Furthermore, between 1982 and 2007 approximately 99 individuals under the age of 16 were involved in fatal ATV accidents throughout the nation.
Causes of ATV Accidents
Although there is no specific age or licensing requirements for those who wish to operate an ATV in Georgia, young drivers should avoid handling &/or maneuvering these half-ton vehicles due to the strength it can take to regain control of these vehicles in rough terrain.
It’s also important to note that the majority of the time young drivers lack the experience and judgment needed to handle such heavy machinery.
Some other common causes of ATV crashes include:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Inexperienced Driver
- Motor Vehicle Equipment Failure
- Reckless Behavior
- Overloaded ATV
Poor vehicle maintenance and defective products are other causes of such collisions. In 2013 one manufacturer recalled approximately 100 ATVs due to a crash hazard and many more have been recalled in previous years due to manufacturing issues.
Common ATV Crash Injuries
One of the most common occurrences during an ATV crash is flipping wherein the ATV actually flips onto the victim. In these instances, serious damage can occur to the rider (and any passengers), which can often lead to life threatening consequences.
Another common happening is the individual flying over the handle bars as these vehicles lack any type of harness to protect the driver or passengers during impact with another vehicle of fixed-object.
Some common ATV crash injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Head Trauma
- Loss of Limb
- Broken Bones
- Internal Organ Damage