As the weather starts to warm up, more and more people are going to want to enjoy the outdoors. One of the popular tools that children and adults will enjoy is the ATV. These can be enjoyed off-road, raced with friends, and used for tricks. Unfortunately, people can also get hurt while riding an ATV. Sometimes, this is due to defective products or faulty designs within the body of the ATV itself. What should someone do if they are hurt as a result of a manufacturing defect of the vehicle?
A Recent ATV Crash
Recently, an accident involving an ATV occurred in nearby Edinburg. A group of children were riding ATVs together when a crash occurred. The ATV collided with a pole with four children on the back of it. One of the children, a seven-year-old girl, was airlifted to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, she subsequently passed away as a result of her injuries. The other three children were also injured and it remains to be seen whether or not they will make a recovery. While the local law enforcement professionals are investigating, the questions should be asked about why this accident occurred in the first place? Furthermore, this is far from the only accident involving an ATV.
ATV Crashes Can Impact Anyone
The 8-year-old daughter of Jamie Lynn Spears was also involved in a serious ATV accident. While riding near her family’s home, she swerved to avoid an obstacle. The vehicle overcorrected and subsequently drove right into a lake. The vehicle and the child instantly sank underwater while the family rushed in to help. Subsequently, they found that the child was trapped underneath the netting and strapped in by the seatbelt of the ATV. Thankfully, she was able to be freed from the restraints and has made a recovery. Why was it so difficult to free her from the seat of the vehicle?
Statistics Regarding Accidents and ATVs
While these personal stores can be heartbreaking, it is important to take a look at some of the facts involving ATV accidents as well. Since the early 1980s, more than 14,000 people have been killed while riding an ATV. Over 3,000 of them have involved children who were still under the age of 16. In the year 2015 alone, close to 100,000 people had to visit the emergency room to receive treatment of injuries sustained while riding an ATV. Over a quarter of these patients were children. In the state of Texas alone, close to 800 people have been killed since the early 1980s. This is more than any other state in the country.
Vehicles Move Too Fast
A recent report was published that analyzed some of the problems with the design of ATVs. One of the aspects that was highlighted was speed. Clearly, many of the drivers of ATVs are children. Yet, some of these vehicles can move as fast at 80 MPH. When vehicles reach these kinds of speeds, they are challenging to control. If the ATV is tall, it has a high center of gravity. This, in turn, makes them easy to roll over. This brings other problems with the ATV into question.
A Lack of Protection
Another problem that was highlighted in the recent report was the lack of driver protection. Most people who have seen an ATV understand that there is little to no covering around the seat. This means that if the ATV rolls over, riders could be crushed or pinned underneath. Furthermore, the open nature of the vehicle means that people could be thrown or ejected from the vehicle itself. If children are thrown from the vehicle, they could suffer a variety of injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Clearly, more protection is needed in case the vehicle flips or ejects its driver. Should children be driving ATVs to begin with?
An Alteration in the Position of the Controls
The controls of the ATV are on the handlebars. This includes the throttle and the brake. Many of the ATVs have placed these controls relatively close to the seat. The only reason why children are able to operate an ATV is that they are able to reach the controls. There has been significant debate regarding whether or not children should be allowed to drive an ATV. One of the suggestions has been to move the controls of the ATV farther back from the seat. This would prevent children from being able to reach the controls. Could this cut down on the number of children injured in accidents?
A Response from the ATV Manufacturers
Despite the rising number of deaths and injuries, ATV manufacturers have not made any sweeping changes to their products in response. Polaris, the company that manufactured the ATV involved in the accident with Jamie Lynn Spears’s daughter, simply wished the child a speedy recovery. The government has tried to tighten the regulations on this company, yet accidents and injuries continue to take place. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, an organization that researches the safety of numerous products such as ATVs, has labeled the popular vehicle “deadly.” Obviously, manufacturers such as Polaris have not been moved by the repeated accidents and injuries that take place. What is a family to do?
Help from an Experienced Team
Without a doubt, it is important for every company to test their ATV to ensure that there isn’t a defective design within the product. When this reaches the consumer, people can be seriously injured in an accident. Those who have been hurt should contact defective products attorneys at GOM Law. This esteemed law firm has been serving the citizens of Texas for years. Meeting with an experienced legal team can ensure that a full investigation is performed, making sure that no detail is overlooked. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. The professionals of GOM Law are always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.