Riders Often Underestimate ATV Dangers
Statistics kept by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) show that between 300 and 400 people died in ATV crashes on public roads each year since 2003. During 2018, nearly one-quarter of those deadly wrecks involved multiple vehicles. This indicates that ATV riders face risks from car and truck drivers in addition to the dangers they face during trail rides.
The IIHS research also reveals that 20-30 percent of ATV crash fatalities during a typical year occur among children and teens. Failure to wear a helmet was noted in 80 percent of all crashes where an ATV driver died and in 90 percent of all crashes where a passenger died.
Unsurprisingly, ATV crash death spike on July 4th, when family and friends gather outside in open areas to enjoy the height of summer. This reality prompted the Consumer Federation of America in late June 2020 to reissue the following tips for avoiding injuries while operating what it calls off-highway vehicles (OHVs):
Never operate an OHV on a road.
Never permit children younger than 16 years old to operate an adult-size OHV or any OHV that is too large and too powerful for them.
Always wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding an OHV.
Always wear safety belts when available in the vehicle.
Never allow more people on an OHV than it was designed to carry.
Never ride when under the influence.
Take a hands-on safety course.
Legal Options When an ATV Operator Causes Injuries or Deaths
An innocent victim of an ATV crash may have several options for seeking the payment of medical bills and the replacement of lost wages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. ATV insurance functions much like auto insurance, making that kind of coverage available for bodily injuries, wrongful deaths and property damage.
If no ATV insurance exists, a crash victim can look into the possibility of making a claim against the vehicle owner’s home insurance policy. This may be the best choice if the operator who caused the crash was not the owner of the ATV. The owner has a legally enforceable duty to ensure that anyone to whom they entrust their ATV uses the vehicle responsibly.