Fatal ATV Accidents in PA: Tips to Avoid a Deadly Wreck
It’s becoming a problem:
A number of recent ATV accidents in our area resulted in serious injury or death. Three of those occurred within the last month.
All-terrain vehicles, also called four-wheelers or quads, are popular among both kids and adults, but accidents involving these vehicles can cause severe injuries or loss of life. Children are able to drive an ATV long before they’re eligible for a learner’s permit to drive a car. There are laws governing ATV use in Pennsylvania, but because many people ride ATVs on private property or in the woods in rural areas, it’s very easy to break those laws. Usually, that’s how people get hurt.
To avoid a potentially devastating ATV accident, everyone who rides an ATV should have a basic understanding of PA’s ATV laws and these safety tips:
1. Alcohol was said to be a factor in one of the most recent fatal ATV wrecks in Northeast PA. Riders may think that it’s somehow safer to drive a quad while under the influence than it is to drive a car. But, alcohol and drug use impairs judgment, reaction time, alertness, and spacial reasoning, making it much easier to make a deadly error. Riding an ATV combines high speed and heavy machines with rough terrain, so alertness is a must. Always ride sober.
2. Riders under the age of 16 should be riding youth ATVs, not adult ATVs.
3. Under Pennsylvania law, no one under the age of 15 can operate an ATV unless it is on a parent or guardian’s land, or the rider has received a safety training certification. And, no rider under the age of 16 may cross a highway or road on an ATV without a safety certification or the supervision of an adult.
4. All ATV riders should wear protective gear, especially helmets, as four-wheeler crashes often result in traumatic brain injuries.
5. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to ride an ATV on a highway or street that is not specifically designated for ATV use. Collisions between ATVs and cars (or worse, trucks, like in this deadly wreck) can be catastrophic, and ATVs can be harder to control on paved surfaces.
6. Make sure your quad has all of the necessary parts and safety features, including working headlights and taillights.
7. Be careful with passengers. The weight of a passenger on an ATV will make the machine handle very differently, especially for a rider with less experience. This is how accidents can happen. Be sure that your vehicle is equipped to accommodate multiple riders, and know how to adjust your driving appropriately.
8. Take a safety training course, especially if your children are learning to ride. Safety training is the best way to help new riders get comfortable with the different types of situations they are likely to encounter on a quad, and they can even teach experienced riders some helpful tricks to avoid an accident. Overall, riders who complete a safety training certification are less likely to be injured on an ATV.
If you suffer an injury in an ATV accident, you may need to file a claim against the owner of the vehicle, the property owner, or an at-fault third party, such as another driver. If the vehicle itself was defective or malfunctioning, you may be able to file a products liability claim against the manufacturer. After seeking medical help, the next step is to call an ATV accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. We will answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action in order to get you the compensation you need to pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us for a free consultation at 855-866-5529.
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