In a report released this year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Pennsylvania had the third highest total of reported ATV deaths over a 30-year study period, just behind Texas and California. ATVs are one of the most dangerous products regulated by the CPSC. In 2013 alone, there were an estimated 99,600 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. Tragically, an estimated 25 percent of these injuries involved children under the age of 16.
During hunting season in Pennsylvania, we will see an increase in ATVs in wooded areas of the state, which could bring an increase in accidents. According to Pennsylvania’s All-Terrain Vehicle Law, no one under eight years old can operate an ATV on any state-owned property. No one ages eight to 16 can operate an ATV except on the land of parents or guardians unless he or she has completed an ATV safety training course and received an ATV safety training certificate.
Although the laws regarding the age for getting a driver’s license is relatively consistent from state to state, the rules regarding the minimum age for ATV drivers vary widely from state to state. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV because children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy and complex machines.
ATVs can weigh more than 800 pounds and reach speeds of over 50 mph. They can be unstable and hard to control, especially when traveling at high speeds. Collisions and rollovers are frequent occurrences that can cause serious injuries and death. Some of the most serious ATV injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, fractures and crush injuries. Treatment for these injuries can often be costly and require extensive treatment and rehabilitation.
With colder weather season here in the northeast, it is important to drive carefully in inclement weather. ATVs should not be driven in rainy, foggy or snowy conditions, as the weather can greatly reduce visibility, increasing your chance of an ATV accident.
Ten Safety tips for ATV riders
- Always wear an approved helmet and protective eyewear
- Wear protective clothing, boots, and gloves
- Never ride on paved roads; ATVs are designed for off-highway use on approved trails.
- Ride only at safe speeds
- Do not carry passengers on a single rider ATV
- Take an ATV safety course
- Be sure to understand how to safely operate your ATV correctly
- Follow all state and local regulations regarding operation of your ATV
- Never operate an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- If you allow your child to ride an ATV, be sure to choose one that is the appropriate size and be sure they take a training course
The accident attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli in Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre encourage ATV riders to get the proper ATV training, keep safety top of mind when riding, and know the risks before you allow your children to ride. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the injury lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation. Call 215-575-9237 for our Philadelphia office or 570-714-HURT for our Wilkes-Barre office.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.