ATV Accidents a Summer Hazard

Summer time means people are spending more time outdoors and that means people will be out taking advantage of the weather and riding all-terrain vehicles or ATV’s. These vehicles are designed to, as their name implies, be driven on any terrain. However, despite their durability and ruggedness, they can cause severe and deadly injuries. Recently, on May 25, 2016, a 17-year-old boy sustained fatal injuries in Custer County. In this sad accident, the driver lost control over his ATV when he attempted to drive down an embankment near Foss Lake police reported KFOR-TV.

What is an ATV?

ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, are off-road, motorized vehicles that have three or four low-pressure tires which allow them to drive on different surfaces.  In the past these vehicles were marketed as three wheel versions, however, these models were discontinued in the late 1980’s. While you may see some tricycle motorcycles on the road, these are different from the ATV’s we are discussing. Today, virtually all ATVs in use today are the four-wheeled variety, which allows them more stability and more accessibility to different trails and road types. Some people do use ATV’s for work, such as those employed on farms and even golf courses. Certain ATV’s are equipped to handle passengers and may come with racks to hold bags and other materials that a rider may need if they are out on a trial.

While these devices are fun to ride they can be a safety concern adult-sized ATVs have engines larger than 90cc, with an average range between 229cc and 649cc.A fully loaded ATV can weigh between 400 and 800 pounds and travel at speeds of well over 70 miles an hour. While manufacturers recommend that children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate an adult- sized ATV, and that children younger than six not ride on ATVs at all many people ignore these warnings and are subsequently injured.

ATV accident

What Are the ATV Laws in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma’s ATV safety legislation became effective on November 1, 2007.  These laws impose certain requirements on drivers and riders alike.  One of the most important requirements is that all drivers and passengers who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when they are operating an ATV on public lands.  As noted above, some ATV’s are equipped to carry passengers while others are designed for use by a single rider, if an ATV is only designed to hold one rider at a time, then a driver is prohibited from riding with a passenger.  In addition, these vehicles are not permitted to be driven on the streets like a normal car, they are only allowed to be driven across a road from one trail to another and this is further limited by requiring that riders only driver during daylight hours.  The laws in Oklahoma are designed to protect drivers and riders alike.

Why Do ATV Accidents Happen?

ATV accidents are common and they often lead to injuries.  Some of the most notable reasons for ATV accidents include:

  • Speeding – speeding is one of the biggest factors in an ATV accident. As highlighted above, ATV’s can often exceed 70 miles an hour. This means that the driver is susceptible to injuries. There is a direct correlation between how fast a person is going and the chances that their injuries will be substantial and severe if they are in an accident.
  • Driver inexperience – Many people jump on an ATV and think that it is just like riding a bicycle since often the steering mechanisms look the same. However, an ATV is not the same as a bike and often drivers will attempt to drive a vehicle that is beyond their capabilities.
  • Rugged terrain – Rugged terrain and driver inexperience go hand in hand. Because ATV’s were designed for driving in hard environments, many people find themselves looking down the side of a hill and-and falsely assume that because the vehicle was designed for such tasks that they will be ok. However, driving an ATV is a skill and when a rider encounters terrain that they are not able to handle, this often leads to accidents.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol is a leading factor in auto accidents, and it is the same for ATV accidents. Drinking before operating a vehicle slows your reaction time and impairs your ability to make rational decisions.

oklahoma personal injury attorneys

Common ATV Injuries

ATV’s pose unique problems to their riders. Like motorcycles and various motorcycle accidents, ATV riders are exposed to the elements and if they are involved in an accident will most likely be thrown from the vehicle which can result in injuries. However, because of the unique terrain that ATV riders are on, they face their own subset of injuries and in terms of the types of injuries suffered by ATV riders:

  • 26% of riders who were involved in an accident suffered contusions or abrasions.
  • 23% of riders suffered fractures, which required medical attention.
  • 17% had sprains or strains.
  • 11% suffered lacerations
  • 8% had internal organ injuries.

According to ATVSafety.gov, these injuries were fairly distributed throughout the body. The most commonly injured part of the body was the arm (29% of all injuries), followed by the head or neck (28%), torso (22%), leg (20%, and other (1%).

Call Our Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers for a Legal Consultation

If you have recently been in an ATV crash, you should first be concerned with getting the proper rest to heal. Your rehabilitation is of the utmost importance, and we understand that completely.

That is why one of our skilled Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorneys will travel to wherever you are, with an open ear and a desire to help.  We will aggressively fight for you to recover the damages that are rightfully yours – all while you have a chance to recover.  Don’t worry about complicated legal statutes, insurance paperwork, or accident analysis – we will handle all of the legal and investigative work for you so that you can focus on being with your loved ones and getting the care you need.