All-terrain vehicles, also called ATV's, are used to travel over all different kinds of land from sand dunes to forests to fields. There are ATV's designed for single riders and tandem ATV's made for use by a driver and a passenger. Riding ATVs has become a popular recreational activity with 229,500 ATVs sold in the United States in 2014. There are even ATV racing competitions hosted by the ATV National Motocross Championship.
Although they may be fun, ATVs can also be quite dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were over 100,000 people injured due to ATV accidents in 2012. Also according to the CPSC, on average, there are 712 deaths from ATV accidents every year. Of those 712 deaths, 144 are children. Because of the potential for injury and death, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no one under the age of 16 without a valid driver's license should be permitted to ride an ATV.
ATV Accidents In The News
News outlets have reported a multitude of injuries and deaths occurring after an ATV accident. Below are just a few of the recent news stories regarding such accidents:
- In Maryland, two men were killed in an early morning ATV accident
- In Kansas, a 16 year old died after he lost control of his three-wheeled ATV and it went of the road and into a ditch
- In Pennsylvania, a 12 year old boy was killed in an ATV crash. He lost control of the ATV and hit a tree stump.
- In Arizona, an ATV driver died after crashing into a Polaris off-road vehicle.
When taking part in recreational activities, like riding an ATV it is important to remember to do so safely so as to protect yourself and others around you. To avoid injuries, the CPSC recommends you use the following safety tips when operating an ATV:
- Wear a helmet to protect from head injuries
- If you want to be even safer you can wear eye protection, long sleeves and pants, boots, and gloves
- Never allow more riders on the ATV than the ATV was designed for; so if the ATV is designed for one rider, then only one rider should be on board
- Training: Take an ATV safety training course from a qualified instructor. For example, the ATV Safety Institute offers courses.
- Stay Off of Paved Roads: ATVs are not designed to be driven on paved roads and can be difficult to control on them. Not only is it illegal in many states to drive an ATV on a paved road, but the driver runs the risk of being hit by cars.
- Never let a kid under 16 ride or drive an ATV designed for an adult