All-terrain vehicles, or ATVS, are powerful and dangerous machines that can cause serious and catastrophic injuries, as evidenced by the paralyzing injury to U.S. Olympic Swimmer Amy Van Dyken who severed her spine in an ATV accident last month.
Because ATVs are so dangerous, they come with a number of safety warnings and recommendations regarding proper use. Unfortunately, it seems that many people ignore these warnings and recommendations to the detriment of their own safety and the safety of others.
In fact, a recent study found that the majority of teens who are injured while riding an ATV ignore manufacturers’ safety warnings, including recommendations to use ATVs with smaller engines. In the study, researchers analyzed crash circumstances and medical treatment related to ATV injuries at three pediatric trauma centers from 2007 to 2012. A total of 84 patients whose average age was 13 completed a lengthy questionnaire about their crashes and riding habits.
According to an article in Safety and Health Magazine, the study results showed a strong relationship between dangerous ATV riding practices and severe injuries, including the following specific findings:
- 71 percent ignored manufacturers’ recommendations that children younger than 16 should ride ATVs with smaller engines (90 cc or less).
- 70 percent did not wear a helmet.
- 56 percent had no adult supervision.
- 50 percent were “double riding” with a passenger.
- 23 percent were riding on paved roads.
- 16 percent were riding at night.
- 43 percent required operations because of their injuries.
Based on the data, researchers recommended additional preventative measures to keep children younger than 16 from operating ATVs.
ATV riders are also strongly urged to use helmets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of teens in the U.S. have ridden an ATV, but less than half of them regularly wear a helmet and a quarter of them never wear a helmet.
“Helmets are very important. Helmet non-use among youth is a particular concern because these riders have a greater likelihood of crashing than adults, and their likelihood of dying or sustaining a serious TBI is much higher,” said Bethany West, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta and coauthor of the study.
Contact an Accident and Injury Lawyer
The Chicago accident and injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to promoting safety and helping accident and injury victims obtain the financial recovery they deserve. If you were injured in an ATV accident, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago accident and injury lawyers.