Warm weather and summer vacation means that individuals and families across the state of Texas will soon be taking to the outdoors for entertainment. All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are motor vehicles commonly used for off-road fun; however, in Texas, years of fatal ATV accidents have solidified our state as one of the most dangerous in the country for ATV accidents. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Texas takes the top spot for ATV fatalities and represents 6% of the country’s ATV-accident related deaths reportedly killing 831 people from 1982-2017 alone – and this number is only increasing. While Texans are usually proud of receiving top accolades, this is one statistic the state should not be proud of. Texans can help keep each other safer this summer by familiarizing themselves with common ATV dangers and safety tips.
Common Roadway Safety Misconceptions
One reason Texas ranks higher than other states for fatal ATV accidents is due to the state’s culture and landscape. Texas is vast, with a variety of terrain to explore. For individuals who enjoy riding off-road vehicles like ATVs, this is a dream come true. Unfortunately, while ATVs are plentiful across the state, the commonality does not lessen the potential dangers of operation. Many riders view these vehicles as toys rather than the high-powered and sensitive motor vehicles they are.
The name, All-Terrain Vehicle, is misleading to riders who believe the vehicle will be able to perform over a series of obstacles across rough terrain. While the name suggests the vehicle is equipped to handle all terrains, this is not true. In fact, ATVs are neither designed nor equipped to maneuver on pavement. Riders often believe that because ATVs can navigate uneven terrain that pavement will be safe; but this causes the rider to lose control of the vehicle due to being unable to properly grip pavement.
In addition to the common misconception that ATVs can be driven anywhere, these vehicles are also often misjudged as being multi-passenger vehicles. While some models can support multiple riders, not all ATVs can handle the weight distribution. This can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and seriously injure a passenger vulnerable to being thrown from it.
Causes of ATV Accidents
A variety of factors can play into an ATV accident, including weather, landscape, and vehicle design. Any cause of an accident could result in a victim sustaining life-changing injuries or worse, death. Drivers can protect themselves while enjoying ATVs by remaining attentive to what causes these accidents.
Rolling over in a vehicle is one of the most serious types of car accidents you can be in. While rollovers are extremely dangerous for passenger vehicle occupants, for ATV drivers they can quickly turn fatal. Rollovers can occur due to a vehicle “tripping,” causing the vehicle to be thrown off balance and subsequently rollover onto itself. ATV designs do not offer drivers or passengers a physical barrier to protect them from the elements, including the ATV turning over on top of them.
Manufacturing defects commonly cause ATV accidents due to loose regulations. Unlike motor vehicles that must undergo extensive crashworthiness testing, ATVs are not subject to such testing and often fatal accidents are the only way of identifying a problem in a particular make and/or model.
Drunk driving should never occur; but unfortunately drunk drivers neither are unable to maintain proper control of a vehicle nor react in timely manner. Not only can a drunk driver seriously injure or kill themselves, but they can also inflict serious damage to riders and bystanders.
ATV accidents typically result in catastrophic injuries due to a combination of the terrain being ridden on, lack of physical barriers and safety protection, as well as high speeds resulting in forceful impact. Common injuries associated with ATV accidents include but are not limited to:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones / Fractures
- Deep Cuts / Lacerations
- Road Rash
Texas ATV Accident Attorneys
Summertime in Texas involves a host of outdoor activities; and, while riding ATVs can be a memorable experience, it can also be devastating if not handled responsibly. The personal injury attorneys at Adame Garza believe all Texans can enjoy our state without the fear of being seriously injured or killed by a negligent ATV driver or manufacturing defect. If you or a loved one has been a victim of an ATV accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact us today to learn more.