There are more than 700 deaths and 100,000 injuries each year involving ATVs. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Highway Loss Data Institute), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not designed for on-highway use, but in recent years, more than 300 riders died in crashes on public roads annually.
Deaths of ATV riders on public roads have been steadily increasing over the last two decades. During that time, the proportion of fatally-injured ATV riders who were 40 and older increased from 9 percent to 39 percent in 2014.
Riders are encouraged to wear goggles, helmets, gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and over-the-ankle boots to help keep themselves as safe as possible in the event of an accident.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are other safety steps that can be taken for a safer ATV ride.
- Stay off paved roads
- Never allow children younger than 16 on adult ATVs
- Do not allow more people on the vehicle than it is designed to carry
- Get proper training
Proper training is critical to ensure that ATVs are operated safely. The ATV Safety Institute offers rider courses designed to help drivers become aware of the dangers of ATV use. These training courses also emphasize the dangers associated with drinking and driving an ATV.
The ATV Safety Institute also provides a pre-ride inspection checklist that is important to ensuring that your ATV is ready to be ridden.
- Check the air pressure and condition of all tires
- Make sure all cables and controls are fully functioning
- Inspect all lights
- Check to make sure all proper maintenance has been done on the ATV (oil, fuel, driveshaft, etc.)
Never ride if you are ever unsure the ATV is safe to operate and always make sure scheduled maintenance occurs.
Additionally, always ensure that passengers are secure and safe before operating an ATV. Unlike driving in a car, drivers and passengers of ATVs are not protected by seatbelts, doors or airbags. Therefore it is even more important for ATV drivers to understand their surroundings and take all the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them.
Florida regulates the use of ATVs on public roads by generally prohibiting their use except during the daytime on an unpaved roadway where the posted speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour. Florida also requires that persons under the age of 16 are prohibited from using ATVs unless that person wears both an approved safety helmet and eye protection.
Of course, operators of all motor vehicles, including ATVs, are strictly prohibited from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers must not drive distracted or when tired and all traffic signs must be obeyed.
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In the event of an injury caused by somebody operating an ATV while intoxicated or in a reckless manner, it is important to get an experienced Port Charlotte personal injury attorney at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. involved immediately. An experienced personal injury attorney like Randall Spivey can help protect evidence, identify the liable party and work with you through the entire legal process.