Used for both recreational and rescue purposes, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) provide a way to access areas that are hard to reach with traditional vehicles.
However, thousands of injuries and fatalities have been reported from their use. Of particular concern is the fact that over a quarter of the people involved in ATV accidents are children. ATVs are defined as three- or four-wheeled motorized vehicles primarily used for off-road riding. The first ATVs were manufactured with only three wheels and practically no safety standards. However, there were so many accidents and injuries that the federal justice department filed a lawsuit claiming that ATVs violated the Consumer Product Safety Act. This led the ATV manufacturers to replace the three-wheeled models that were prone to rollovers with more stable four-wheeled ones (also referred to as “quads”). In spite of this, far too many deaths and injuries still occur. Furthermore, the dangerous three-wheeled models were not recalled and are still being used.
What Causes ATV Accidents?
There are many different causes of ATV accidents, including:
- Driver inexperience
- Improper positioning
- No protective gear
- Driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Too many riders
- Unsafe speed
- Manufacturing defects.
Common ATV Injuries
The most common injury-causing ATV accidents involve the vehicle’s rolling or flipping over. ATVs are prone to rollovers because they do not respond well to steering input by the driver, particularly on turns. They are slow to react at first and then they snap around, from a severe understeer to a severe oversteer. Furthermore, ATVs should not be operated on public streets because, although they can reach highways speeds, their low-pressure tires aren’t designed for paved roads. These design issues are problematic enough for any operator. When coupled with the underdeveloped reflexes of children as well as their impaired ability to perceive risk, ATV operation becomes an inherently dangerous activity that can cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, neck injury, fractures, dislocations and chest injuries.
As such, a patchwork of regulations exists, with states setting varying standards for required safety equipment, operator licensing, the number of allowed passengers and the minimum age of the driver.
Georgia ATV Laws
In Georgia, there are neither license nor training requirements, nor a legal age limit to operate an ATV, nor a helmet law. In fact, the only current law concerning ATVs in Georgia is that they are not permitted to be operated on sand dunes or beaches anywhere in the state, except as authorized.
Keeping Children Safe on ATVs
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children younger than 16 should not drive a “full-size” ATV. Adult-size ATVs may have an engine capacity ranging from 125cc to 400cc, while there are 90cc and 50cc models available that have throttle controls so parents can adjust the maximum speed. The different sizes of ATV engines and frames should be taken into account when determining the appropriate model for your size and age. Children should be supervised both as riders and as bystanders. Despite the fact that some ATVs have seats that can fit more than one person, for safety reasons, they are intended to carry only one rider. And although there is no helmet law in Georgia for off-road vehicles, all riders should wear the proper gear — a helmet with a DOT approved sticker, goggles, gloves, long sleeved shirt and pants, and over the ankle boots.
Georgia ATV Injuries & Legal Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in an ATV accident in Georgia, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your costs such as medical bills, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. With offices located in Macon, the ATV accident attorneys of the Mann Law Firm are ready to help those people whose lives have been affected by ATV crashes. Get started today with a free, no-obligation case review by calling (478) 742-3381. You can also fill out this online form to discuss the details of your accident and find out your rights. If you have a claim, you can trust that you have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. We represent clients throughout the state of Georgia including the communities of Macon, Dublin, Warner Robins or Milledgeville.
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