Three teenage girls were injured on Wednesday in an ATV accident in Douglas County.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the three were riding an ATV on the street, and seem to have lost control of the four-wheeler when trying to turn a curve. All three were ejected from the ATV, and suffered injuries that did not appear to life threatening. The girls were not wearing helmets. The Georgia State Patrol says that the girls may be charged because they were not allowed to ride an ATV on the road. Besides, they were not wearing helmets, and they were not licensed.
Fortunately, the injuries were not too serious, but this was an accident that could have easily resulted in serious injuries. In Georgia and across the country, thousands of injuries every year are traced to ATV accidents. Many of these accidents can be traced to design defects in the ATV. The Yamaha Rhino, for instance, has been linked to thousands of injuries across the country, because of its narrower body, and high center of gravity that places motorists at an increased risk of a rollover. Riders are likely to be thrown off the ATV, and trapped underneath, leaving them with crushing injuries.
We don’t know what kind of ATV these children were riding, but children must never ride an adult-size ATV. An adult size ATV can weigh between 500 and 100 pounds, and can travel at more than 55mph. Children between the age of 12 and 16 must ride ATVs that come with an engine size of 99cc or less.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAO) have recommended that children below the age of 16 must not ride the ATV. The AAP has called for laws prohibiting ATV use by children below 16 years of age, and mandating only persons above the age of 16 with an automobile driving license and some ATV use certification to be allowed to ride these vehicles. In fact according to the AAP, ATV use by a child is almost certain to result in a tragedy. According to the AAOP, children below the age of 16 do not have the perceptual abilities or the judgment necessary to safely use these ATV’s.
As Georgia personal injury lawyers, we support these recommendations, and hope that parents will supervise their children’s ATV use in the interest of safety.