All-terrain vehicles were designed to be used in the dirt and off paved roads; however, some riders have begun using them on paved roads in Georgia and across the nation. One study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that about two-thirds of ATV fatal accidents happen on paved roads where the vehicles are usually banned. Government statistics confirm that between 2007 and 2011, just over 1,701 ATV riders lost their lives in accidents on public roads in this nation, or nearly one person each day. Of those, deaths, 62 occurred in Georgia.
An executive with IIHS reports that in addition to the fact that the vehicles are not designed for use on public roads, other risk factors contribute to the accidents. Speeding contributed to 42 percent of the deadly single-vehicle wrecks and 19 percent of the multiple-vehicle accidents. Also, only 13 percent of riders wore a helmet while operating the vehicles, and 43 percent were legally impaired.
A majority of ATV-accident fatalities were drivers, and about 210 were passengers. Nine out of 10 drivers who died were at least 16; the same percentage was male. While ATVs are often thought of as recreational vehicles, they are often practical in a variety of work-related uses, such as by rangers, farmers and law enforcement personnel.
The ATV Safety Institute encourages riders to never drink and drive and to always wear a helmet. They also warn riders of the dangers of use on public roads.
When a passenger on an ATV loses their life because of the negligence of the driver or another party, the family members might want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury attorney might be able to help them seek compensation for damages related to the accident.
Source: USA Today, "Study: ATV crash deaths rising on public roads", Larry Copeland, December 26, 2013