More than 20 years ago, the U.S Government safety agency declared ROVs (recreational off-highway vehicles) and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) as “imminent hazards”. While the heightened awareness of the inherent risks has helped users to exercise caution, riding ATVs continues to be a deadly and dangerous activity when certain safety precautions are not followed. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an average of 650 ATV-related deaths and 100,000 injuries occur every year in ATV accidents. In Texas alone, from 1982-2017 there were a reported 805 ATV/ROV-related deaths and 15,250 in all U.S. States combined. The majority of ROV/ATV accidents are considered preventable.
ROV & ATV Accidents
Rollovers are the most common cause of an ATV/ROV-related injury. Rollovers are responsible for 64% of single-vehicle crash deaths. A rollover can consist of a frontal, side, or rear rollover. Each type of rollover is equally dangerous and can result in the driver being ejected from the vehicle or being crushed by the vehicle itself. Rollovers are more common on paved surfaces, as they are designed to be driven on off-road terrain. At least 900 deaths within a 4-year period were related to ATVs being ridden on a parking lot or paved road.
Common Causes of ATV Accidents
Tire blowouts are also a common cause for ATV injuries. Any issues amongst the tires create dangerous circumstances. Blowouts result in loss of control and vehicle rollovers. Having control is essential when driving these off-road vehicles. Common causes of tire blowouts include:
- Defective design
- Improperly mounted tire
- Improperly mounted rim
- Incorrect tire pressure
Other common causes of ATV/ROV accidents include:
- Poor driver training
- Negligent entrustment (by owner)
- Brake failure
- Inadequate instructions/warning labels from the manufacturer
- Poorly maintained trails
ATV Accidents and Injuries on the Rise
ATV rider deaths on public roads have increased more than 10 times more than they were since 1982. The statistics do not include off-road accidents, which is where the majority of ATV/ROV accidents occur.
In 2017, there were an estimated 93,800 ATV-related emergency department treated injuries in the U.S. Many of these injuries were catastrophic and resulted in death. Other injuries included:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crush injuries
- Orthopedic trauma
- Wrongful death
ATV Children Injuries
CPSC reported that children under the age of 16 accounted for 3,315 ATV-related fatalities (22%). Overall, children suffered around 1/3 of the recorded ATV injuries.
Polaris Ranger & ROV Recalls
Since the CPSC labeled ROVs and ATVs “hazards”, manufacturers have been questioned regarding the numerous safety risks that these vehicles pose. The CPSC has recalled several ROVs and ATVs, including the Polaris Ranger and Polaris RZR models, which have been reported in accidents involving rollovers in which the roll bars and safety mesh fail to protect riders and result in catastrophic injuries or death. These models were recalled due to the following risks:
- Defective Throttles
- Rollbar defects
- Fire Hazards such as defective fuel tanks
- Suspension defects
- Safety mesh defects
- Battery defects
- Violation of Safety Standards
- Brake failure
- Transmission defects
ATVs have recently been recalled by Polaris due to crash and injury hazards, as reported by FOX. Police reported that they received 11 reports of brake failures, resulting in at least one crash and one rollover accident.
Polaris RZR and Ranger ATV models have been noted by consumer safety experts as particularly dangerous, as consumers risk serious injury if the ATV safety features fail. However, Polaris is not the only ATV company that has recently issued a recall of its vehicles. Several other big manufacturers are also under fire for injuries sustained by its passengers. Other ATV manufacturers with recalled units include:
- Arctic Cat
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney After a ROV/ATV-Related Injury
A personal injury attorney with expertise in the area of ROV/ATV-related accidents will be able to help you determine if you are in a position to recover damages from injuries related to the accident. Thompson Law has a robust team of investigators who will be able to research the specific circumstances surrounding your accident in light of our firms’ knowledge of what constitutes a defective or inherently unsafe feature of the vehicle that caused your injury. Our legal team has the resources to fight large manufacturers to the full extent of the law in order to help you recover what is owed to you if the manufacturer of a vehicle is responsible for your injuries.
Ryan Thompson is an experienced Texas catastrophic injury lawyer and product liability attorney with years of experience litigating serious ROV and ATV accidents. Mr. Thompson has represented clients nationwide in a variety of product liability, injury and wrongful death claims. If you or a loved one has been injured in an ATV or ROV accident, call today for a FREE CONSULTATION.