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The Dangers of ATV Accidents in Southern California

December 31, 1969

On March 24, 2013, a woman from Modesto died after being flung from the ATV she was riding. According to the Modesto Bee, the woman was driving at a high speed and the ATV hit a levee, causing her to be expelled from the vehicle. She was not wearing a helmet at the time. 1115332_atv_driver.jpg

Our Costa Mesa injury attorneys know that accidents like this may only increase as the spring and summer approach and as kids are on break from school. Riding an ATV can be a lot of fun but it can also be very dangerous and this fatality is a reminder that safety should be a priority when riding an ATV.

Safety Tips for ATVs

According to ATV Safety, there were 327 reported deaths and an estimated 107,500 trips to an emergency room for ATV-related incidents in 2011. For children under the age of 16, there were 57 deaths and 29,000 trips to an emergency room for ATV-related incidents. These thousands of injuries and deaths had serious consequences for the people injured and the family left behind.

Avoiding ATV accidents should be a top priority so you too don't become a statistic. Hopefully, these tips can help you to stay safe:

  • Take a hands-on safety training course - Many accidents happen when inexperienced drivers lose control and they are thrown from the ATV or hit an object. A novice driver of any age should take a course, as a course will cover many different situations and how to handle them. Many manufacturers and distributors offer this training free as well as incentives for completing the training.
  • Wear protective gear - It is a state law in California that operators of and ATV wear a helmet. Your helmet should be a motorized sports helmet, like a motorcycle helmet, and be certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell). Other protective gear includes boots that extend above the ankles to protect feet and ankles, goggles to protect the eyes from debris and gloves. When riding, you should also wear a shirt with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Do not carry passengers - Many ATVs are designed for a single driver and this driver must use all his body to control the ATV. This means shifting his weight in all directions. Single rider ATVS are not equipped for passengers and have no handholds or footrests. Some ATVs are designed for one passenger and that person should no be under 12 years old. In California, no passengers are allowed on ATVS unless it is designed for a passenger.
  • Do not ride on paved roads - There are no safety features on ATVS like there are on cars and this is because they are designed for off-road use. It is also difficult to turn an ATV on pavement because the rear wheels turn at the same speed and during a turn the inside wheel will skid. This makes turning on pavement very dangerous. In California, ATVs are not allowed on highways, except to cross them.
  • Do not drive an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol - Driving an ATV requires your full attention and alcohol or drugs will impair judgment and your reaction time.

Following these safety tips should hopefully help you to stay safe. Unfortunately, if other negligent drivers of ATVs could still cause an accident, as could a defect in the ATV itself.

If you or a loved one were a passenger on an ATV with a negligent driver or if you were otherwise injured in an ATV crash, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.