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The Dangers of ATVs and Young Drivers

Posted on December 3, 2018

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular in Alabama – especially on farms and in rural regions. ATVs are useful for outdoor work and for recreational purposes. Although most ATV manufacturers stipulate that minors under the age of 16 should not operate ATVs alone or unsupervised, many families make the mistake of assuming they are safe for young drivers. This leads to hundreds of accidents and injuries every year.

ATV Accident Statistics

Since federal organizations began recording ATV accident statistics, thousands of people have gotten into accidents, suffered serious personal injuries, and died while riding ATVs. Many of these victims have been children. These statistics show how dangerous ATVs are for young drivers and riders.

  • In 2016, an estimated 101,200 emergency room visits stemmed from ATV-related accidents and injuries. Around 26% of these patients were under 16 years old. ATV-related fatalities totaled 337 deaths in 2016.
  • From 1982 to 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) received reports of 14,653 ATV-related fatalities. Twenty-two percent (22%) of these deaths, or 3,232 fatalities, were children under the age of 16. Ten percent (10%), or 1,411 were under 12.
  • In 2015, at least 58 children lost their lives in ATV accidents. Another 26,700 had to visit emergency rooms for serious injuries. ATVs cause more childhood injuries and deaths than most other products in the CPSC’s jurisdiction.

Reading the statistics about childhood ATV accidents is very different from experiencing one in your family. If a child sustains serious injuries in your family while driving or riding as a passenger on an ATV, discuss your case with an attorney. You could have a case against the supervisor, the ATV manufacturer, a marketer, or a property owner.

Why Young Drivers Should Not Operate ATVs

Anyone can get into a serious ATV accident in Alabama. Young drivers, however, are especially at risk. In fact, the danger of children operating adult-sized ATVs is so great that several consumer groups have filed petitions with the CPSC to ban these types of sales. The Consumer Federation of America called upon the CPSC to disallow the manufacture of ATVs specifically for youth, marketed to 14- to 16-year-olds, that could travel up to 38 miles per hour. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend anyone under the age of 16 ride ATVs of any size.

Why are ATVs so Dangerous for Young Drivers?

Drivers under the age of 16 have not yet developed the skills necessary to safely maneuver ATVs. Once children reach driving age and begin operating motor vehicles, they are more equipped to control an ATV. Until then, driving powerful adult ATVs can prove to be beyond the child’s ability. Even youth models with speed limiters can be dangerous for young drivers. The most common ATV accidents involving young drivers include rollovers, drivers thrown from vehicles, and losing control and striking objects.

Young drivers can suffer serious and life-changing injuries in ATV accidents. Common severe injuries include multiple broken bones, permanent concussions, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, neck and back injuries, chest injuries, internal injuries, and nerve damage. A child may never fully recover from the injuries he or she sustains in a serious ATV accident. It is up to parents, guardians, and supervisors not to allow children under 16 on adult ATVs.

Purchasing an ATV This Holiday Season?

ATVs are popular holiday gifts in Alabama. If you are considering purchasing one for a young driver in your life, make sure you are buying one with youth limitations. Also, check the CPSC’s recall list to make sure you purchase a model without any known defects or dangers. All-terrain vehicles often appear on the federal recall list for injury hazards. If you or a loved one get into an ATV accident this holiday season, contact a personal injury attorney for counsel. You could be eligible for financial compensation. Call our Birmingham personal injury lawyers today.