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4-wheeler accidents by the numbers

All terrain vehicles -- specifically, four-wheelers -- offer recreational enjoyment for people in all areas and of all ages. Some people use the vehicles to reach outdoor camping, fishing or hunting areas not accessible by road vehicles. Many use four-wheelers to enjoy trails while others seek the speed and excitement of riding an ATV. Whatever the reason for using a four-wheeler, drivers and passengers should be aware of safety concerns and accident risks.

Statistics regarding ATV accidents indicate that over 10,000 people died in four-wheeler incidents from 1982 through 2009. With most other vehicle types, safety concerns have decreased fatalities through the years, but the number of ATV-related injuries and deaths has increased. Part of the reason for that increase might be an increase in the number of people using four-wheelers for recreation.

One frightening statistics regarding four-wheeler fatalities is that over one-fourth of individuals who died as a result of such accidents were under age 16. While children would never be allowed to drive a motor vehicle such as a car or truck, they are often allowed to operate ATVs. One study indicates an average age of just under 13 years for four-wheeler drivers. One way parents and others can reduce injuries is to restrict how children ride on ATVs.

Another serious issue is that many four-wheeler accidents occur on streets and roads. ATVs are not generally intended for road use, and they don't come with the safety options that cars and trucks do. Keeping ATVs off the road might help reduce accidents.

Even the safest and most cautions ATV operators can still be involved in accidents, though. When those accidents are the fault of some other party, the driver or rider who is injured has legal options for seeking compensation that are similar to those in a traditional road accident.

Source: Health Research Funding, "22 Important Four Wheeler Accident Statistics," accessed Sep. 10, 2015

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