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ATV Rollovers: The Sad Truth

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Denver, COThe sad truth about ATV rollovers is that they happen far more frequently than most people realize and they often involve life-changing injuries and even death. Some of the people involved in ATV rollovers are experienced ATV drivers, who are cautious and understand the power of these vehicles. Unfortunately, if experienced drivers can be involved in an ATV rollover, this means that inexperienced drivers are at a higher risk of accidents. Often, those inexperienced drivers are youths.

ATV CrashOn July 6, an ATV accident in Modesto claimed the life of a 17 year old rider. The teenager was thrown from the ATV after he lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over several times. Before the youth died his injuries included paralysis, brain damage, a cracked skull and a broken collar bone. His grandmother told local news outlets that doctors gave the victim 17 pints of blood and 15 pints of platelets. The cause of death was multiple injuries to his head, chest and abdomen.

In a different accident, also on July 6, a 17 year old girl died in an ATV rollover. The girl had been attempting to climb a small hill but was at a bad angle when she did so, resulting in the ATV overturning and landing on her. Meanwhile, in yet another accident, a 14 year old girl died when the ATV she was riding in hit a tree. Two other youths were also involved in the accident and were taken to hospital.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 1982 and 2001, the Commission received reports of 4,531 ATV-related deaths. Of those deaths, 38 percent were youths under the age of 16 and 18 percent were under the age of 12. Furthermore, in 2005, the CPSC received reports of 870 ATV-related deaths and approximately 146,000 injuries requiring emergency room treatment.

When it comes to riding ATVs, experts and safety organizations always recommend that people wear safety gear, and rightly so. After all, safety gear can protect a person's head, neck and limbs from serious injury. However, when a 600-pound ATV rolls over on top of a child, how much protection can safety gear provide? In such instances, even with safety gear on, a youth is at a high risk of serious injury and even death. This is why ATVs should not be designed to be so unstable.

Another truth about ATVs is that any number of conditions can result in an ATV rollover. These include driving too fast for conditions, attempting to drive a hill at a steep incline or turning too quickly. What makes the situation so unpredictable is that some ATVs have a high center of gravity, a narrow wheelbase and a lack of proper safety features to protect ATV riders in case of an accident. Experienced drivers have reported that they felt they were driving at a safe speed and not attempting anything dangerous when their ATV flipped.

Various ATV makers, including Yamaha, face lawsuits filed by people who were seriously injured in ATV accidents. The suits allege that the vehicles were defectively designed, resulting in injury and even death.

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