Riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be a fun family pastime, but these vehicles can also pose many dangers. In February 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its 2013 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries. The report stated that 426 ATV-related deaths were reported in the U.S. during 2013. That same year, an estimated 99,600 people went to the emergency room needing treatment for an ATV accident injury, and approximately 25 percent were younger than 16 years old.
The report also found that Texas had 716 ATV-related fatalities—the highest number in the United States from 1982-2013.
Texas ATV Safety Laws and Other Safety Guidelines
Many ATV accidents can be avoided and injuries prevented if laws and safety recommendations are followed. It is important to know these laws and safety suggestions to keep yourself, your children, and other ATV riders safe:
- A special decal is required. You can only ride an ATV on Texas public property if you have a current OHV decal displayed on the vehicle that was issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
- Young kids cannot ride alone. Riders under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and it is recommended that kids under 16 always ride with an adult.
- Adequate training for everyone is critical. ATV safety programs are available in the state of Texas, including one from the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program (run by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service).
- You must wear adequate protective gear. Safety gear must be worn, including helmets, boots, and gloves. Those who fail to protect themselves with the right gear are much more likely to suffer serious injuries.
- You should never ride ATVs on paved roads. Also, you should use extreme caution when crossing a paved road, watching carefully for vehicle traffic.
- You should always drive slowly on unfamiliar terrain. Many people suffer serious injuries each year when an ATV wheel suddenly slips into a ditch or hole in the ground. Take the time required to find the safest places to ride.
- You should regularly check online to see if your ATV has been recalled by the manufacturer. The CPSC, as well as ATV manufacturer websites, should publish this information. However, never assume you will be contacted directly. Once you learn that your ATV has been recalled, stop riding it immediately, and have all necessary repairs made before riding it again.
- You should never ride an ATV alone. People can’t predict when or if they’ll be in an accident, and they need someone available to call for help if they’re injured. Always ride with at least one other friend or relative (and carry a charged cell phone for emergencies).
- You should never ride an ATV after drinking alcohol or using any type of drug. Any substance that impairs your vision or coordination should be avoided when riding an ATV.
Protect Yourself and Your Family After a Texas ATV Accident
If you have suffered serious injuries while riding with someone on an ATV or you were hit by another ATV driver, you need the help of an experienced Fort Worth ATV accident attorney. Tom Hall is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been defending clients injured in ATV and other vehicle accidents for over 25 years.
You can reach Tom Hall’s personal injury law office today at: 1-817-831-6100. Call us today and ask to schedule your FREE consultation about your ATV personal injury or wrongful death case.