When the weather starts getting warmer in Arizona, those that love All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) head to the outdoors for hours of weekend fun on off-road trails. Despite the numerous accidents that happen, ATVs are still popular amongst those that love the outdoors in Arizona. But, it’s important to take a minute to look at these statistics: Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reported 141 off-road ATV collisions in 2014, with 78 percent resulting in injuries. Further, there have been 252 deaths in Arizona between 1982-2011. ATV accidents happen, and it’s important to consider safety and the well-being of those you love every time you venture outdoors.
Why Do ATV Accidents Happen?
There are a wide variety of reasons that ATV accidents can happen, ranging from unsafe riding to a manufacturer defect in the ATV. Here are some of the main reasons that contribute to ATV accidents:
- Recklessness on behalf of the driver of the ATV or driver of another vehicle
- Repair defects
- Manufacturer defect
- Faulty design
- Brake or Suspension defect
- Helmet defect or vision impairment
- Unsafe road or weather conditions
- Driving under the influence
ATV Safety Tips
ATVs have rules and safety warnings imprinted on the fiberglass that indicates the ages, heights, and weights compatible with the vehicle. Follow these guidelines when operating the vehicle or you could be seriously injured in an ATV accident if you don’t comply with them.Riders who are under 16 years of age cannot operate a full-sized ATV. Be sure to purchase a size-appropriate vehicle for younger riders. Ride with them to correct speed and steering and teach them about safe driving behaviors. Most ATV manufacturers require riders to be a minimum of five feet tall and at least 100 pounds. You may even find weight minimums and maximums imprinted on the vehicles.All ATV riders, regardless of age and experience, should wear proper safety equipment. Arizona has specific rules about helmet and eye protection usage for off-road vehicles (OHV). Specifically, riders under the age of 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet.Always inspect your safety equipment of the ATV/UTV before riding. Ensure your brake and turn signal lights are functional. Check your headlights and horn too. Arizona requires all mufflers be functional without alteration. Phoenix or Tucson registrants of off-road vehicles may need to have their ATV tested at a local emissions facility, especially if the ATV is street-legal.
What Should You Do if You are in an ATV Accident?
If you, or a loved one, sustained an injury in an ATV accident, seek medical attention first. Then, make sure to obtain the name and contact information of all people involved, including any witnesses. Take pictures of the scene and vehicles involved as soon as possible or have a witness do so.Seek the advice of an attorney even if you do not intend to file a claim. This way you are apprised of your rights and obligations and can make an informed decision.Determining who was at fault and whether there is an applicable insurance policy can be extremely difficult, but the attorneys at our firm are experienced in handling these matters. You may even choose to pursue an ATV injury claim against the manufacturer in the event of a defect. If you have any questions about ATV accident law, please call today or Get a quick case analysis here!