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ATV Accidents Still a Major Cause of Injury Warns California Injury Lawyer

Throughout the country, there are laws in place imposing safety rules on riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in an effort to reduce the number of accidents that occur. Injury lawyers in California, however, know ATV accidents are still a major cause of injury in the state. A lawyer in our Orange County office shares Consumer Product Safety Commission data on ATV crashes and injuries.


ATV Accident Risks


A number of California laws are designed to require riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to practice safety procedures. The laws mandate that the operators of ATVs on public lands wear a helmet at all times and limit the number of riders to one unless the vehicle is expressly designed to carry a passenger.  ATV owners must also register and title their all-terrain vehicles and receive a numbered place for the vehicle. The registration must be renewed annually. 


The Department of Parks and Recreation regulates ATVs in California, and training courses are operated statewide, explains the California injury lawyer. Drivers between the ages of 14 and 18 must have a safety certificate from one of these courses to drive on public land, or an adult with such a safety certificate must accompany them.  Drivers under 14 cannot operate an ATV on public land at all unless they are with an adult with a safety certificate. 


Even with these safety rules in place, ATV accidents occur every year in California.  From 1982 to 2011, there were 628 deaths reported in the state due to ATV accidents, and children under the age of 16 suffered 108 of the deaths. From 1982 to 2007, California had the highest number of ATV deaths of any state in the country. During this time period, there were 504 deaths in California.  Texas, the state with the second highest number of ATV deaths, recorded 478 fatalities and 459 occurred in Pennsylvania. 


Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published a series of infographics illustrating how dangerous ATVs can be:


  •  Early reports indicate that a total of 590 deaths occurred on ATVs nationwide in 2010, including 82 deaths of children under the age of 16. 
  •  July is the month with the highest number of ATV deaths. From 2005 to 2007, there were a total of 102 ATV-related fatalities throughout the United States in the month of July. 
  • More than 100,000 people were injured on ATVs in 2011, almost 30 percent of whom were children under the age of 16. 
  • Head and neck injuries accounted for 28 percent of ATV-related injuries, with a total of 30,300 people experiencing trauma to their head or neck. 
  • A total of 31,300 injuries to the arms and hands were sustained in 2011. Arm and hand injuries accounted for 29 percent of all ATV-related injuries. 
  • Twenty-two percent of all injuries affected the torso. A total of 23,400 torso injuries occurred over the course of the year. 
  • Twenty percent of ATV injuries- or 20,900- affected the legs and feet. 
  • Thirty-three percent of all fatalities from 2005 to 2007 occurred on paved surfaces. Five percent of deaths occurred in deserts, sand dunes, beaches or vehicle parks not located on a highway. 


Other top locations for fatalities included fields, pastures and farmlands, where 12 percent of deaths occurred; and forests and woods, where nine percent of fatalities happened. 


Preventing ATV Injuries


“Taking a California safety course, refraining from riding in crowded or public spaces, and following California laws on ATV safety are some of the most important things that riders can do to avoid a serious or fatal accident,” explained the California injury lawyer. 


The Consumer Product Safety Commission also advises wearing a helmet; preventing kids under 16 from riding; limiting the number of passengers on an ATV; and avoiding riding on paved roads. 


Sometimes accidents occur through no fault of the driver.  Reckless motorists in passenger cars might not see ATVs that are riding on highways, for example, or an ATV may malfunction in a dangerous way. If an accident occurs on an ATV that was caused by a defect in the vehicle or by the negligence of another, the injured ATV rider could potentially take legal action to recover compensation for recovery-related expenses. 


Additional articles on public safety and the personal injury claims process are available to the public free of charge through our office.


If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California injury lawyer, please call 866-981-5596. 

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