327 ATV-Related Deaths Reported in 2011

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were at 327 ATV-related fatalities that occurred last year. Because reporting for 2008 – 2011 is still going on, however, this figure could go up.

At The Gilbert Law Group®, our ATV accident lawyers represent kids and their families that were injured in an accident involving these all-terrain vehicles. We are an auto products liability law firm that helps victims recoup their losses from negligent manufacturers and others.

Common Causes of ATV injuries and deaths:
• ATV malfunction
• Operator inexperience
• Kids riding without adult supervision
• Poor operating instructions
• Operating an ATV on the pavement rather than off-road
• Failure to warn about hazards
• Design defect
• Two people or more riding an ATV designed for single riders
• Unsafe stunts
• Kids riding ATVs designed for adults.

While the number of ATV deaths has gone down—2011’s fatality figures were the lowest number reported in recent years—the number of people dying from using ATVs on public roads (contrary to its name, all-terrain vehicles are not for all terrains) has gone up ninefold since the early 1980’s. Also, there has been some speculation that maybe the number of all-terrain vehicles went down recently because of the economic crisis and people’s reluctance to spend $1,500 to over $10,000/ATV.

Common ATV safety defects cited in lawsuits:
• High gravity center
• Narrow wheel base
• Small wheels
• Inadequate instructions
• Occupant cab intrusion
• Rollover risks
• Inadequate rider protections

According to the Institute for Highway Safety, 305 of the people that died in ATV accidents in 2011 were involved in accidents on regular roads. 10 of these victims were kids. CPSC reports that most child ATV deaths occur on adult all-terrain vehicles rather than the ones made for youths. (The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that ATVs are dangerous for kids, who lack the developmental capabilities to safely operate this type of complex vehicle.)

While ATV dealers are not allowed to sell adult all-terrain vehicles to families intending to buy them for children, this ban isn’t always obeyed. In 2011, the rate of violations of this agreement between manufacturers and the government was at about 31%–a slight decrease from 2007 when it was at 37%.

Over the years, the inherent safety of ATVs has come into question. Manufacturers even consented to stop producing ATVs with three wheels, because four-wheel ATVs were considered more stable. Now, they must provide hands-on training to buyers even though it is not mandatory for consumers to take such courses.

Common ATV Injuries:
• Crushed limbs
• Back injuries
• Traumatic brain injury
• Spinal cord injury
• Skull fractures
• Lung injuries
• Extremity injuries
• Amputations
• Broken bones

Tens of thousands of people are injured in ATV accidents each year.

Meantime, the all-terrain vehicle industry has tired to improve the vehicle’s public image by promoting safe operation, telling consumers to always use a helmet, stay off public roads, ride solo rather than tandem, and make sure that the ATV is the appropriate size for each rider.

To request your free case evaluation, contact our ATV injury law firm lawyers today.


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