There are around 10 million all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the United States and over 16 million operators. Unfortunately, approximately 700 people die each year and over 100,000 people are injured annually due to ATV accidents. Injuries and accidents are particularly common for children under age 16. The alarming increase in injury and death from ATV usage is attributable not just to increased use, but also to the production of larger, faster, and more powerful ATVs.
If you own an ATV or operate one, you should advise your insurance agent accordingly to verify that you have proper liability coverage and limits in place. You should also work with an experienced attorney to draft a waiver agreement for any guest who wishes to ride or drive the ATV. If they do not wish to sign the waiver, no usage of the ATV should be permitted.
In addition, the following safety tips should be followed.
Children should be allowed to operate only age-appropriate or “youth” ATVs. Most youth ATV-related deaths and injuries occur while operating “adult” ATVs. No child under age 7 should ever ride or operate an ATV.
Most ATVs are designed for only one person, so children should not take on passengers or be passengers of their parent’s ATV.
ATVs should not be driven on paved roads. ATVs, because of their design, are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with other vehicles on the road can prove fatal.
ATV operators should never drive an ATV without a helmet. Wearing a certified motorcycle helmet can dramatically decrease the chances of a head injury while operating the ATV.
All operators should complete a “hands-on” ATV training course. One class is estimated to be equal to 1 year of experience. Reputable ATV dealers often provide this class free of charge to their customers.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.