Tennessee personal injury attorney F. Braxton “Brack” Terry says manufacturers and dealers should be alarmed by a recently released study that shows that injuries are far more serious after accidents involving four-wheel all-terrain vehicles than motorcycles.
“I think this study especially raises a concern over whether these four-wheel ATVs are being safely designed and sold for use by young ATV riders,” says Terry, a partner in the Morristown, Tennessee law firm of Terry, Terry & Stapleton and member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
“These four-wheel ATVs are often marketed to young children, but they\’re not toys. These are powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles, as this study reveals,” Terry says.
The study was done by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research and presented last month at the annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
The researchers analyzed the data from 13,749 patients who suffered an off-road motorcycle accident and 44,509 patients who had an ATV-related accident. The data revealed that ATV riders were 50 percent more likely to die in these accidents as well as 50 percent more likely to need treatment in an intensive care unit for their injuries.
The study found that even when both types of patients wore helmets at the time of the accident, the ATV riders fared worse than the motorcycle riders.
“This study supports the fears and concerns that vehicle safety advocates have had for several years about these ATVs,” Terry says.
He pointed to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics showing that 376 ATV accident-related deaths occurred in Tennessee between 1982-2008, including 90 reported deaths of children under the age of 16 from 1982-2005.
Terry says manufacturers should examine whether there are design issues that cause stability and rollover problems with four-wheel ATVs and whether more safety features can be built into the design.
He also says that ATV retailers need to be careful about selling vehicles with weight and power that may make the vehicle dangerous when driven by a rider who is age 16 or younger.
“The ATV industry owes consumers a duty to sell them a safe product and to give them proper warning about the product\’s risks,” Terry says. “Consumers, too, need to make sure that they do thorough research before buying one of these vehicles, especially parents.”