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ATV Accidents

Thousands of Adults and Children are Killed or Seriously Injured in ATV Accidents Yearly

ATV accidents that result in serious injury or death have significantly increased according to a “ATV Report” report published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, for the eighth year straight. These statistical findings largely blamed the ATV manufacturers and marketers.

Among others, Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety for Consumer Federation of America implicated the entire ATV industry for not doing more to prevent ATV accidents. American Academy of Pediatrics President David T. Taylor, Jr., MD joins Weintraub’s sentiment. “ATVs continue to kill and seriously injure children at alarming rates…the industry has done nothing to make these dangerous vehicles safer.”

The CPSC also related some unnerving statistics. More than a 150,000 serious injuries resulted from ATV accidents over the last year. There has been a 37 percent increase in serious all terrain vehicle injuries since 2001. The Consumer Product Safety Commission Weintraub went so far as to suggest that that the new generation of ATVs should be “designed to eliminate hazards.” Adding a note of finality to the discussion,

“ATV Safety Information” researchers at the University of Kentucky published results suggesting that national size guidelines for the all-terrain vehicle were “inadequate to ensure the safety of young riders.”

There are many causes of ATV accidents, side-by side (S x S) accidents, and 4-wheeler accidents. Causes include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Faulty ATV mechanical work
  • Heavier, more powerful ATV’s being marketed and produced without proper instructions and manuals.
  • Manufacturing defect: ATVs having high center of gravity and narrow track width, causing vehicle to flip over easy when being turned (causing a quarter crash roll)

Types of Injuries

In most cases, the types of injuries caused by these of vehicles are severe and permanent. The most common types of personal injuries caused by a side-by-side vehicles, 4-wheeler, 3-wheeler, Off-Road or ATV accident include:

• Broken or crushed arms and hands

• Amputation of arms and legs

• Spinal cord injuries

• Brain injuries from head impact

• Crushing injuries from being pinned to ground resulting in paralysis or death.

As a result of the severity of the injuries, some manufacturers began issuing warnings – some far too late and totally inappropriate. Some manufacturers send some of their customers warning labels advising their riders that their ATV’s and S x S may roll over on uneven terrain or if the vehicles were turned too quick. Other warning labels warned riders and drivers to keep their arms and legs in the vehicle. Yet, other warning stickers told drivers not to drive “too aggressively.” The notice failed to include anything about safety precautions regarding use of seat belts, application of a new type of door, or maneuverability issues.

If you have been injured by an all terrain vehicle, ATV, or in a 4-wheeler, 3-Wheeler, Off-Road accident, then you need an experienced attorney that can fight for you or your loved one. We will not allow the ATV industry to blame you for the ATV accidents. We explore every potential party and look for all parties who bear some responsibility for the accident.

For the eighth year in a row, serious injuries caused by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) increased, and children under age 16 continued to suffer a significant portion of those injuries, according to a report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Estimated deaths on ATVs increased as well.

“Every year, more and more families are devastated by deaths and injuries caused by ATVs. This tragic problem continues to be in dire need of an aggressive and immediate solution,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety for Consumer Federation of America. Congress, CPSC, state legislatures, the ATV industry, and the consumer and health care community still have miles to go before we adequately reduce the hazards caused by ATVs.”

“This new report shows more of the same — continued high death and injury rates among children on all-terrain vehicles,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP. “ATVs continue to kill and seriously injure children at alarming rates. The CPSC’s meager efforts to stem the tide have been entirely ineffective, and industry has done nothing to make these dangerous vehicles safer.”

Major findings in the CPSC’s 2007 Annual Report on ATV-related Deaths and Injuries include:

  • Serious injuries requiring emergency room treatment rose from 146,000 in 2006 to 150,900 in 2007, an increase of less than one percent that was not statistically significant. Since 2001, there has been a statistically significant 37% increase in serious injuries.
  • The estimated number of ATV-related fatalities fell slightly from 948 in 2005 to 882 in 2006. To date, 542 reports of ATV-related fatalities have been identified for 2007, but this number is expected to increase as additional data are gathered. The states with the highest numbers of reported deaths identified in the period 2005-2007 were West Virginia (143), Florida (123) and Kentucky (114).
  • In 2007, at least 107 children younger than 16 were killed on ATVs. This accounts for 20 percent of fatalities.
  • Children under 16 suffered 40,000 serious injuries in 2007 — or 27 percent of all injuries. This is a 2 percent increase from the 2006 estimate. CPSC found that this decrease was not statistically significant. Since 2001, there has been a statistically significant increase of 17% in the number of children under 16 seriously injured on ATVs.

The CPSC data include a risk estimate of ATV injuries per 10,000 four-wheel ATVs. The risk estimate for 2007 is 153.9 compared with 163 in 2006. In making this determination, CPSC estimated that there were 9.5 million ATVs in use in 2007 and 8.6 million in use in 2006. In August 2006, CPSC denied a petition filed over six years ago by consumer and health groups demanding action on ATVs. Instead, the Commission moved forward with a rulemaking that would result in ATV standards. There is no timeline for the full rulemaking process and work on the rulemaking appears to have stalled.

The CPSC’s rulemaking, however, describes the development of a “transitional ATV” for children age 14 and older, which is of particular concern to consumer and public health advocates. These ATVs would likely have engines larger than those currently recommended for children under 16.

The CPSC, the ATV industry, the Consumer Federation of America, and many other consumer advocates recommend that children ages 12 through 15 not ride ATVs with engines larger than 90 cc’s.

On August 14, 2008, the President signed into the law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which includes a provision focused on ATVs dealing primarily with protecting the economic interests of the largest ATV manufacturers.

The provision makes the current ANSI/SVIA voluntary standard mandatory; requires that the manufacturer of any ATV imported into the U.S. be party to ATV Action Plans; requires that CPSC continue its rulemaking process and consider multiple factors when categorizing youth ATVs; and requires that CPSC consult with NHTSA to determine the safety of numerous aspects of ATV safety.

The ANSI/SVIA standard sets forth a description of a transitional ATV, which contradicts that of CPSC’s proposed rule. The speed limit for transitional ATVs in the ANSI/SVIA standard is considerably higher than that in CPSC’s proposed rule.

“The CPSC data show that the hazards posed by ATVs continue unabated. Children should not be riding adult-size ATVs, ATVs must be designed to eliminate hazards and enforcement must be effective at both the federal and state level,” stated Weintraub.


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