The stunning backroads and rural dirt roads of Georgia are irresistible for so many to ride an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). For young people, an ATV can sometimes be their first set of wheels and deliver them the sense of freedom that every youth desires. However, for parents it can certainly be a test of trust and faith in their child. For many parents who allow their children to take an ATV on the gravel roads or fields of Georgia are unaware of the dangers.
According to research done by the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas, parents are unaware of how serious injuries can be from riding an ATV; especially without a helmet. But what many may be surprised to hear is the alarming rates at which children are obtaining serious chest injuries.
Children Injured in ATV Accidents
The study concluded that 102 out of 455 patients (18 years and younger) suffered a chest injury. On average, the patients with chest injuries were 13 years old and 40% of these patients were held in an intensive care unit (ICU) due to the severity of the accident and their injuries. Injuries ranged from a pulmonary contusion, bruising, fractures, collapsed lungs and even death.
The studies have shown that injuries sustained from an ATV accident are quite similar to those in a motor vehicle accident.
Are ATVs Dangerous?
An all-terrain vehicle has three to four wheels, can travel at up to 75 M.P.H. and can often crash, rollover or eject a driver. The description seems all too familiar to those individuals who are in a car or on a motorcycle. The severity of these potential injuries is something that no parent or young driver should take lightly.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, alongside the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends that any child under the age of 16 should be prohibited from riding ATVs. Although the number of injuries has declined, nearly 25,000 children under the age of 16 were treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2014.
To find specific information regarding Georgia ATV laws, please visit the Georgia Department of Public Safety. As parents, we must discuss responsible driving skills and the risks involved when operating an ATV. These vehicles continue to be made heavier and faster; causing accidents and injuries to be catastrophic. If you or someone you know has been involved in an ATV accident and need legal assistance, please contact our offices immediately.