Preventing ATV Accidents (And What To Do If You’re In One)

Although riding an all-terrain vehicle can be fun and exciting, it’s an activity that presents significant danger. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for individuals to become seriously injured or even killed due to their ATV activities. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that there were 14,129 ATV-related deaths between 1982 and 2015, with 674 fatalities in 2014 alone. It may be considered to be a beloved pastime, but it’s one with immense risks.

Why are ATV accidents so dangerous?

Worldwide, more than 50% of all road motor vehicles accidents occur among young adults aged 15 to 44. But ATVs present a huge risk for young adults and even children. Over 3,000 of the ATV fatalities that occurred between 1982 and 2015 involved children under the age of 16 (which equates to 22% of all ATV fatalities during this time), and more than 1,000 of those deaths involved children younger than 12.

However, all-terrain vehicles have a huge risk of catastrophic personal injury for riders of any age. Due to where these vehicles are typically used (i.e., off-road locations that often feature rough terrain), the speeds at which riders travel, and the lack of safety gear worn by riders can create the perfect storm. In addition, some riders think that because there’s no licensing required, they can freely consume drugs and alcohol while behind the wheel. They may also be less inclined to follow safety regulations or make smart driving decisions.

How can I prevent an ATV accident?

Some accidents may not be easily prevented, but many are if you take the proper precautions. If you want to reduce your risk of catastrophic personal injury while operating an ATV, you should follow these tips.

Wear protective gear: Unless you particularly enjoy calling personal injury law firms in your area, you should be proactive and wear protective gear at all times. Helmets, eye protection, boots, and gloves can all be potentially life-saving equipment. Wearing this gear may not feel stylish, but it’s way better than being hit in the eye with a branch or sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

Don’t drive up steep embankments:  ATVs are prone to flipping and rolling over.  A common way people are injured and killed riding ATVs is when they drive them up embankments that are too steep to safely navigate.

Wear seat belts when provided:  Two-seater and four-seater ATV’s, also known as side-by-sides, have become very popular.  These larger ATVs have roll cages and seat belts.  However, they are also prone to rolling over when driver’s take corners too fast.  Drivers and passengers can easily be ejected and crushed if they are not properly seat belted.

Don’t drive before age 16: As a rule, no children under the age of 16 should be allowed to operate an ATV. Young children are especially prone to serious ATV injuries due to their small size and inexperience with operating any type of vehicle. That said, any child over the age of 16 should be carefully supervised by a responsible adult at all times during ATV operation.

Enroll in a safety course: You may not need a license to operate an ATV, but you should still educate yourself on best practices and gain a bit of experience before using one. A driver safety course is a great way to accomplish this, especially for teens and young adults who might be inclined to try to show off with dangerous stunts.

Abstain from drugs and alcohol: It may seem like a great idea to have a couple of beers and hop on the ATV, but this decision can be a disastrous one. Even legal medications can interfere with your ability to react and make quick judgement calls while on an ATV. Really, operating an ATV should be no different than operating a car, especially because you’re actually less protected in an ATV.

What should I do if I’m in an ATV accident?

Although drivers may take risks themselves, a catastrophic personal injury may occur through no fault of your own. The ATV’s owner might be held responsible for poor maintenance, for example, or an organization may have been negligent with trail upkeep. Accidents like these may be extremely complicated. If you’ve been injured in an ATV accident, personal injury lawyers may be able to help you if you need to file a claim against an owner or even against the ATV manufacturer.


If you or someone you know sustained a catastrophic personal injury due to an ATV accident, Mayor Law is here to help you through the process. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us.