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ATVs – fun, but don’t let your ride become deadly!

By John Singleton on August 31, 2017

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility task vehicles (UTVs or side-by-sides) are useful tools for working outdoors. They’re great for hauling medium loads and doing other tasks like plowing snow. That’s why they’re commonly used in agriculture, construction, and landscaping.

ATVs can also be a lot of fun when used for off-roading, trail riding, racing, and hunting.

What’s the downside?

But like most things that are useful and fun, these vehicles also have a dangerous, even deadly, side. Last month, an 8-year-old girl was killed and another girl was injured in an ATV accident in Buchanan County, Virginia. Investigators believe the accident was caused by a mechanical failure on the ATV, not operator error. Neither rider was wearing a helmet.

Recently, rising country singer Abby Nicole was killed after performing at a fair in Nebraska. She was a passenger in a UTV accident. And we’re sure you metal fans remember how singer Ozzy Osbourne spent eight days in a coma after his ATV accident in 2003.

How many people are hurt?

As ATVs and UTVs grow in popularity, related injuries and deaths are also expected to rise. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides these current statistics:

  • Every year, 135,000 Americans are injured in ATV accidents.
  • More than 700 Americans are killed each year in ATV accidents.
  • In Virginia, from 2013 to 2015, 29 people were killed in ATV accidents.
  • About one-third of those killed each year in ATV accidents are under 16 years old.

Virginia’s next-door neighbors, West Virginia and North Carolina, are in the top 10 states when it comes to ATV-related deaths. Virginia is in the middle, with 268 deaths to date since 1982.

Because of their designs and the terrain that they’re used on, ATVs and UTVs often tip or rollover when things go wrong. These types of accidents are especially dangerous because the vehicle may end up falling on top of the rider, crushing him or her. ATVs weigh at least 350 pounds, and can be up to more than 700 pounds. That’s enough to break bones, including the skull.

Bottom line: be careful when you’re on an ATV!

Yes, ATVs and UTVs can be very useful and fun. But we at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys urge you to be cautious when using these machines and to ALWAYS wear a helmet. If you are injured or have lost a loved one in an ATV or UTV accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury, product liability, premises liability, or wrongful death claim. To find out more, call (804) 413-6777 to speak to us for free.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

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