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Number of ATV Injuries Decreases, But Safety Concerns Still Exist


(Photo credit: MauritsV)

All-terrain vehicles, or ATVS, are a popular recreational vehicle used for off-road purposes. ATVs ride on low-pressure tires, with drivers straddling the seat and using handlebars to steer the vehicle.


The number of ATV deaths reported in 2011 decreased dramatically, and even though the numbers provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) could increase when the CPSC receives additional reports from coroners and other medical examiners, the 2011 death toll of 327 is, by far, the lowest early number of reported fatalities in recent years says USA Today.


Nonetheless, safety advocates are still concerned about the safety of ATVs. The article points out that there is a troubling new trend that has many safety experts concerned - namely, the number of deaths of people using ATVs on public roads has increased ninefold since 1982. According to USA Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that 305 people died on ATVs on roads in 2011, including 10 children under age 13. Illinois, along with most other states, prohibits the use of ATVs on open roads, except to cross a thoroughfare.


Safety advocates are also concerned by data indicating that almost half of the child fatalities were age 12 or younger, with the vast majority of child fatalities occurring on adult ATVs instead of youth models, which are smaller and much-lower-powered than the adult versions. Although ATV dealers are prohibited from selling adult ATVs to families who are purchasing them for children, CPSC undercover monitoring showed that about 31% of ATV dealers violated this restriction in 2011.


According to USA Today, the CPSC is quick to point out that ATVs themselves are not necessarily to blame for the injuries and deaths, but, rather, misuse of the ATVs is the primary culprit, including multiple persons riding on an ATV built for one person and attempts at stunt-like maneuvers.


The safety of ATVs has long been a hotly contested issue, with safety advocates helping to push through several regulations. For instance, in the late 1980s, the industry agreed to discontinue three-wheel ATVs due to instability concerns. ATV manufacturers are required to offer hands-on training to ATV purchasers, although buyers can decline to receive the training. Safety groups are also working to enact legislation that would implement training programs and prohibit riders under the age of 16 from riding adult ATVs.


The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured in motor vehicle accidents, including ATV accidents. To learn more, contact our office at (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago accident lawyers.




Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.


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