All terrain vehicles (ATVs) may be deceiving. They do not require a license to drive. Many parents believe they are a safe toy for children. However, this is not the case. Because they can travel at more than 60 miles per hour and can weigh nearly a half-ton, they are not a toy. They are recreational vehicles which are not designed to operate on paved surfaces. Even so, several people each year are killed in ATV-related accidents on public roadways.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) said it documented 335 fatalities during 2016 involving what it calls "off-highway vehicles" or ATVs. That is a 10 percent increase over 2015. The CFA says part of the blame lies with state and local laws that are letting more and more ATVs onto public highways, as well as with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has yet to finalize its all-terrain vehicle rulemaking.
How serious are the ATV accidents?
The latest U.S. figures from Fairwarning.org (news of safety, health and corporate conduct) indicate that ATV crashes kill more than 700 people and 100,000 others are injured every year, with nearly two-thirds of the fatal accidents occurring on public or private roads.
- In July 2017, a Citra, Florida boy sustained severe head injuries when his ATV veered off the roadway onto the south shoulder and crashed head-on into a tree. The boy was not wearing a helmet. He died from injuries sustained in the accident a few days later, according to the Ocala News.
- Also in July 2017, a 16-year-old girl died and a second teenage girl passenger was critically injured in an ATV crash in the Jacksonville, Florida area. The ATV hit something and rolled over.
What are the causes of ATV accidents?
A Wisconsin Driver’s Ed ATV course lists the following causes of ATV accidents:
- Driving an ATV on a paved surface. ATVs are designed for off-road use only and handle poorly on pavement.
- Riding double on an ATV that is not designed to carry a passenger. Most ATVs are designed for only one rider.
- Letting inexperienced operators ride without an experienced riding partner.
- Riding without adult supervision.
- Performing dangerous stunts and maneuvers.
- Operating in unfamiliar areas or terrain.
- Failing to observe state laws and local ordinances.
What is the Florida ATV Law?
Both ATVs and off-highway motorcycles, OHMs, fall under the umbrella of off-highway vehicles (OHVs). In Florida, you are not permitted to operate an ATV on any public road, streets, or highways, unless granted permission by a relevant government authority. All OHVs purchased after July 1, 2002, need to be titled in Florida.
ATV operators under 16 years of age must be supervised by a licensed driver and must wear a helmet and eye protection. In addition to direct supervision, eye protection, over-the-ankle boots, and a safety helmet, those under 16 who want to operate the off-highway vehicle on public land must also pass a safety course.
“If you or a loved one has been injured in an ATV accident, please contact our experienced ATV accident team to review your potential case. There are no costs or attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you,” said Fort Myers ATV Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
Fort Myers ATV Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.