All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are intended to be used for recreation and off-road driving. However, a recent series of ATV accidents in Florida has led to concerns about the ways that ATVs are used incorrectly. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, ATVs are designed to be used by a single driver and in off-road conditions. Consumers need to wear a helmet as well to help prevent brain injuries.
In recent Florida car accidents involving ATVs, however, teens were driving ATVs without safety equipment and on paved roads. In a few of the accidents, multiple passengers were crammed into the ATVs. In September, four teens were driving an ATV along a paved road when they were involved in a Florida truck accident when the ATV collided with a pickup truck. In July, two teens were in a fatal accident when their ATV collided with an SUV on a paved road.
ATVs are not meant to replace cars, but the recent accidents suggest that some teens are using the vehicles as cars. According to manufacturers, however, ATVs are designed so that the driver shifts their weight in order to adjust to different terrains. When multiple passengers are present, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the driver has far less control. ATVs are banned on Florida’s paved roads. This is because ATVs do not perform well on paved roads, as they are designed for uneven surfaces.
Tragically, many Florida ATV accidents involve children. About 30% of all ATV fatalities and injuries involve minors. Since 1982, there have been 10, 000 fatal ATV accidents across the country, and 2,588 of these fatalities involved children younger than 16 years of age. In 2008, 37,700 children were treated for ATV injuries in emergency rooms.
Many ATV injuries involve Florida brain injuries. Since ATVs are not enclosed in the manner of passenger vehicles, in a collision, drivers and passengers are often thrown from the ATV. A helmet is designed to help prevent injury, but experts say many teens avoid wearing helmets. It is unknown whether any of the Florida teens recently involved in ATV accidents were wearing helmets.