All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, have been an increasingly controversial source of personal transportation accidents. In 2006 alone, at least 555 people died due to ATV accidents; more than 100 of the deaths were of children. Also, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, estimates that 146,000 people visited the emergency room as a result of accidents caused by ATVs.
With these frightening facts, it is easy to recognize the need for protecting people from such terrible deaths and personal injuries. Of course, the ATV manufacturing companies believe that it is negligent driving that causes these terrifying statistics, but the CPSC remains unconvinced. In February of 2008, there was a mass recall for a certain vehicle that had faulty control panels that were prone to catching on fire.
Although product recalls like this can affect anything, we can take a brief look at the history of ATVs to see that they have never had a perfect record. In fact, the first style of ATV proved to be so dangerous that they are not even made that way anymore. In early 1970s, Honda created a three-wheeled all-terrain vehicle that quickly rose in popularity. It was eventually copied by other personal vehicle companies such as Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha.
After an estimated 5,239 deaths in a span of twenty years, the CPSC completed several studies on these three-wheeled vehicles. Eventually, the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the three-wheelers because it believed that the companies violated the Consumer Protection Act. In 1987, production of triwheeled ATVs was discontinued, and the companies decided to instead utilize a four-wheeled body style.
True, the four-wheeled vehicle is more stable than its predecessor, but the accidents are still happening. Some people argue that ATVs are harmful to children because they are large and parents do not have the capability to cap the speed of the vehicle. Also, forty states do not require a pilot of ATVs to hold a valid state driver’s license.
To avoid accidents on ATVs, the driver should be aware of his or her surroundings. If you are driving on slanted or unstable terrain, the vehicle is more prone to rolling over, smashing the driver underneath it. ATV manufacturing companies maintain that drivers should wear helmets of their own accord. Also, parents should make sure that their kids are capable of driving safely before allowing them on an ATV. This means teaching the children to recognize dangerous driving conditions and understanding that going as fast as possible isn’t always the best decision.
If you or someone you know has suffered harm due to a malfunctioning ATV, it may count as a personal injury. For more information on personal injury law, check out Phoenix legal specialists at Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally, P.L.C.