All-terrain vehicle accidents can cause serious injury

Accidents involving vehicles of any kind can cause serious injuries, particularly to children. Car accidents involving various types of vehicles have become a problem in Pennsylvania. In 2009, over 130,000 United States emergency room visits were attributed to all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, children under the age of 16 were involved in a quarter of these visits. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that, from 2007 to 2011, Pennsylvania had 97 rider deaths on public highways, the second-highest number in the country.

ATV vehicles are used by young people all across the country, but after seeing so many injuries caused by ATV accidents, many don’t think that these powerful machines should be used by children. According to The Safety Institute, ATV accidents injure or kill approximately 40,000 children under 16 every year. In fact, the Safety Institute also reported that ATV driving has a higher risk of hospitalization than many popular sports and activities for children including basketball and skateboarding. Surprisingly, the risk of serious injury when driving an ATV is 61 percent greater than for football, which is widely considered to be one of the riskier sports.

These accidents have proven to have serious consequences. Many ATV accidents have caused various injuries in children from cuts and bruises to severe head and spinal trauma. While many more children are injured on bicycles than ATVs, the injuries caused by ATVs are typically more severe.

A four-year-old was recently killed when she was thrown from an ATV driven by her 14-year-old cousin. Deadly crashes like this are more likely to occur in rural areas, as they are not intended for off-road use. Another major cause of fatal ATV accidents is the risky behaviors of the drivers. Close to 43 percent of adult victims were legally drunk and only 13 percent were wearing a helmet.

While police officers attempt to enforce ATV laws, there is a safety issue when pursuing ATV drivers. Many drivers will attempt to speed away into the woods when cops follow them, making it difficult for cops to find them. However, with fatalities caused by ATV accidents on the rise, there has been talk of implementing stricter laws to help prevent these tragedies.

Source: Trib Live Radio, “ATV riding risky for kids, experts say,” Paul Peirce, Dec. 6, 2014