Although All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) were originally designed for work on farms and ranches, ATV accidents frequently involve people who use the vehicles for recreation. Despite the name All-Terrain Vehicle, however, most ATVs are not designed for all terrains, because certain terrains increase the possibility of an ATV rollover. Even though ATVs are smaller than automobiles, an ATV crash can be just as devastating, causing permanent injury and even death.
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Some ATV rollover accidents are caused by unstable design. For instance, the Yamaha Rhino was designed with a high center of gravity, making the vehicle dangerously unstable. The makers of Polaris (which issued an ATV recall in 2008 due to a problem with overheating) have been accused of not warning customers that the throttle had a propensity to stick.
A further issue is that, despite their name, all-terrain vehicles are not actually designed for all terrains. In some cases, an incline might be too steep for the driver's abilities. In other cases, an incline might be too steep for the ATV, regardless of the driver's abilities.
Other problems that could cause an ATV rollover include turning too quickly, hitting a bump or hole, allowing the ATV to roll backwards down a hill (due to lack of speed to get up the hill), driving too quickly for the terrain and riding on a paved road. Furthermore, due to their top-heavy nature, ATVs are not actually ideal for use on rough or uneven ground.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (aaos.org), studies show that nearly 60 percent of four-wheeled ATV accidents are the result of the ATV tipping and overturning. Such accidents often result in drivers being thrown from the ATVs or pinned underneath them, either of which can cause serious, life-threatening injury.
ATV Accident Statistics
A main issue with ATVs is that they are top heavy and provide little protection for riders in the case of an accident. Making the situation worse is that they are heavy, and difficult for children and adolescents to control. Despite that, many children are allowed to ride on adult ATVs, putting them at risk of a serious injury. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), children under the age of 16 should not operate an ATV with an engine size of greater than 90cc.
Children and ATVs
A lawsuit filed in June, 2009, alleges the Yamaha Rhino was defective and unfit for its intended use. The lawsuit was filed by Krissi and Jason Henry, who alleged the Rhino was used on relatively flat terrain when it rolled over, pinning Krissi Henry's leg. The lawsuit alleges Yamaha was negligent for failing to provide adequate warnings regarding the Rhino.
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