There have been a number of All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) accidents in the last few weeks that have brought to light the safety concerns related to their use. Late last month, an East Windsor teen was killed while riding an ATV without a helmet, and two other teens were hospitalized in early July from an accident in Canterbury. It has been reported that in both accidents the teens involved were not wearing the proper protective equipment to prevent injury.
Currently across the United States there are over 9.2 million registered ATV’s and the number of ATV accidents is on the rise. Since the introduction of ATV’s in the 1970’s there have been over 11,000 reported deaths and over 2 million people receiving emergency room treatment for ATV related injuries. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission has reported that riding an ATV is more dangerous than many other recreational activities including snowboarding, football, and basketball.
Though many accidents involve adults over the age of 18, in the last 10 years the number of children killed in ATV accidents has increased by 88%. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission has reported that although 15% of riders are children under the age of 16, they have accounted for 27% of ATV injuries, and 28% of ATV deaths. Many of these crashes and injuries are related to riders being under the influence of alcohol or not wearing the proper safety equipment such as helmets, and padding.
Here are some safety tips from The ATV institute for safe and proper riding of an ATV.
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law because another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
- Ride an ATV that's sized appropriately for your age.
- Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
As a rider it is important to remember that hazards can appear at any time, in many forms while riding. Stay alert while riding and follow the important safety tips above to ensure a safe and enjoyable ATV ride.
Richard P. Hastings is a Connecticut personal injury lawyer at Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, with offices throughout the state. A graduate of Fordham Law School, he has been named a New England Super Lawyer and is the author of the books: "The Crash Course on Child Injury Claims"; "The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut" and "The Crash Course on Motorcycle Accidents." He has also co-authored the best selling book "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing- What Your Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Know and Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!" He can be reached at 1(888)CTLAW-00 or by visiting www.hcwlaw.com.