[Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post from our friends at Slater & Zurz LLP. which addresses a major safety issue in the state we call home.]
Why are so many Ohio kids being hurt in ATV accidents?
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) nearly 100 children under the age of 16 are losing their lives each year in the United States from ATV related accidents. In most of these cases, no one has broken any laws.
Ohio is ranked 15th in the nation for ATV accidents. One third of those accidents involve children under 16. There were 82 fatalities in Ohio from 2008 to 2011 (this time span has not been completely tallied). Based on CPSC statistics, more than 40,000 Ohioans visit emergency rooms each year for ATV accident injuries.
Why so many ATV injuries and deaths?
Why is this happening? Why are children who are not legally old enough to drive a car getting injured or killed using recreational vehicles?
There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is these multi-gear, high velocity vehicles are simply too much for most young children to handle.
ATVs can weigh hundreds of pounds and go as fast as 70 mph. In some cases children are ejected from the vehicles as they attempt to control a vehicle designed for an adult.
Another reason there are so many accidents is that ATVs are often ridden on private land where there are few regulations in force. There are no rules related to a child being a passenger on an ATV while on private property in Ohio.
Manufacturer Warning Labels
Each ATV sold is mandated to have a label indicating the manufacturer’s recommended age for its operator and a CPSC recommendation on suitable operator age. Young children are advised not to take passengers or be a passenger on an ATV driven by someone else.
Ohio Laws When Riding an ATV on Public Land
If riding an ATV on public land in Ohio, the rider must be 16 years old and have a driver’s license, CDL, motorcycle endorsement, or a probationary license. The ATV must be titled and registered. Registration must be renewed every three years.
The operator and his or her passenger must wear a helmet and eye protection while riding in state forest areas. A person who is at least 12 may operate an ATV on Department of Natural Resources land if accompanied by a parent. No one under 16 may operate an ATV unless that person is on land owned by a parent or unless they are accompanied by an adult 18 or older.
Forty-four states have ATV safety laws, but most do not designate a specific age for operators. In general, those familiar with ATVs agree this is not a machine for children under six years of age.
This article was written and provided by the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP. Over the last 40+ years, Slater & Zurz LLP has handled over 30,000 personal injury cases throughout Ohio and helped clients receive more than $150,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. If you have been injured in any type of accident, please contact Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or visit slaterzurz.com.