Articles Posted in ATV Accidents

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Recreational All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have always been a problem for safety advocates who have now called for a new set of ATV standards including a ban of three-wheeled ATVs. These advocates have also long battled manufacturers and their associations to ban the sales of adult-size ATVs for use by children.

A study on ATV-related deaths and injuries released this February by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports on the available 2006 data. There were 555 fatalities and over 146,000 injuries in 2006 compared to 666 fatalities and over 136,000 injuries for the previous year. Further, these numbers for children younger than 16 were 111 fatalities and 39,000 injuries for 2006 while for 2005 there were 145 fatalities and 40,000 injuries. The trend of marginally lower death rates and increasing injuries seem to apply for the years since 2000.

Better equipment including helmets and protective gear, better understanding of proper riding methods and usage and effective consumer safety campaigns have apparently played a part in lowering the number of deaths. It appears that the increasing number of ATV Accident injuries is due to growing ATV usage and their availability.
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Placer County Sheriff’s search and rescue teams located the all-terrain vehicle and the bodies of its two missing riders this past Tuesday just before midnight. The teams discovered the bodies of Vitaliy Kolyadich, 25, of Carmichael and Svetlana N. Koval, 23, of Redlands, which had fallen in an embankment seemingly after an accident involving their ATV, according to a Auburn Journal Web article.

Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department is quoted as saying that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department learnt about the two ATV riders when their families reported them missing on Monday.

My sympathies and condolences are with the families of the two young accident victims. The sad outcome of this search must have crushed their hopes and one can only imagine the grief and pain they’re going through.
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A 21-year-old Fullerton woman reportedly died when she was thrown off her all-terrain vehicle when she was riding in San Bernardino county north of Barstow, according to an article in The Orange County Register. Amanda Jane Simon was killed when she was ejected from her ATV. The vehicle then landed on her head and ran over her, the newspaper reported.

Although Simon was using safety equipment when she was riding the ATV, it didn’t do much to save her life because of the severity of the ATV crash and her serious head injuries. In fact, investigators say she died instantly on the first impact.

It is always tragic when a young life is snuffed out in an unfortunate accident such as this. Simon, for example, was a woman who was full of life. She was interested in getting a veterinary degree, was already working in a pet kennel in Yorba Linda and was about to get married later this month, the Register reported. Simon and her fiancé, Billy Paquette, reportedly often rode ATVs in the area where this accident occurred.
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The holidays seem to be a popular time for children to ride all-terrain vehicles. Unfortunately, this is also that time of the year when the number of deaths and injuries as a result of ATV crashes is at its highest. A majority of the crashes involve younger children or teenagers who crash their vehicles because they lose control of them. Safety experts urge parents to supervise their children, make sure they are buckled up and are wearing the necessary safety gear before they get on one of these vehicles.

Here is a round-up of recent ATV crashes from all parts of the country:

Girl injured: A 9-year-old girl suffered serious head injuries and a broken collar bone in Thibodaux, La. as she and her father rode the four-wheelers through a private cane field. The girl lost control of her vehicle when her accelerator became stuck, officials said. The girl was reportedly riding a child-size ATV.

Hunter dead: A hunter was found dead in Tunica, Miss. after he lost control of his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle on a rural road. The man was identified as 42-year-old Wayne Comardella. The ATV reportedly hit an embankment and flipped over. Comardella suffered fatal head and chest injuries, the article said.
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In what was a horrible tragedy during a family’s Thanksgiving Day get-together, a 12-year-old Paso Robles girl died when she crashed while riding an all-terrain vehicle with her cousins and uncles, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Ashlyn Vargas reportedly went to California Valley on Thanksgiving Day morning to drive ATVs with her family members just before their planned celebration. Ashlyn was reportedly driving an ATV described as a “quad with a roll cage” on flat ground, when she lost control. She was ejected from the vehicle and then the ATV rolled and landed on the girl, crushing her.

Ashlyn’s cousin, also 12, who was riding another ATV nearby, ran to a family member’s house in the neighborhood to get help, the article said. Ashlyn’s uncle tried to resuscitate her with CPR, but that did not help. Ashlyn was pronounced dead by paramedics on the scene.
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A Florida jury has awarded $3.6 million to the family of a 13-year-old who was killed in an ATV accident four years ago. Jurors found that the family that owned the all-terrain vehicle was negligent in the September 2003 crash that happened in a gated Delray beach community, according to an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Parents of the teenager – Duane and Cathy Hennarichs – sued Roger and Karen Fina, owners of the ATV. The Hennarichs’ daughter, Sara, died riding an ATV that was meant for those 16 and older, the article stated. Jurors ruled that the Finas along with their 17-year-old son were negligent and hence liable for Sara’s death. Jurors assigned most of the liability to the Finas, 15 percent to a third party and 5 percent to Sara herself.

Sara’s parents reportedly heaved a sigh of relief because they said it was a confirmation of what they believed all along – that it was not their daughter’s fault that she died. The decision and the award will not bring their daughter back or fill the void in their lives, but will help them move on to some extent, an attorney for the Hennarichs told the Sun-Sentinel.
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Four-year-old Jayden Railey Bennett was driving his four-wheel ATV when he veered off of a dirt road and into the path of an oncoming semi. The truck driver, 43-year-old Lemoore resident Martin Garcia, was apparently driving under the speed limit and was not at fault. Jayden was wearing a helmet, but neither his safety equipment nor his little body could deflect the sheer force of a semi truck.

The question is how could this happen? And was Jayden too young to be driving an ATV? While state law does not set a minimum age to drive an ATV on private property, when operating an ATV on public land in California, state law currently requires that all ATV riders under 18 years of age must have an ASI ATV Safety Certificate, or be supervised by an adult who possesses the Certificate.

According to the Fresno Bee, Jayden was following a group of older children when he crossed onto the public road and his grandfather, who was supposed to be watching him, was nowhere in sight. Now Jayden’s grandfather, seventy-year-old William Bennett of Goshen, could be charged with child endangerment, said Scott Harris, a California Highway Patrol officer.

Dr. Larry Foreman has seen it more times than he would like to admit. Dr. Foreman, who is an emergency room physician at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, indicated that he has seen hundreds of children injured riding ATVs at the nearby Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area, on California’s Central Coast. He has observed that younger children often try to ride an ATV that is too large and too powerful for them to control, leading to injuries. Dr. Foreman indicated that he did not believe that a four-year old child would have the maturity or the knowledge to safely drive an ATV. His concerns are echoed by the ATV Safety Institute who recommends that children be able to perceive danger in advance and that they have the mental, emotional and physical development to be able to drive an ATV safely before solo-piloting these vehicles.

Dr. Foreman said he has tried several times to get the Legislature to pass laws that would set age limits for ATV riders on public property, especially at places like Oceano Dunes. Dr. Foreman pointed to guidelines established by an ATV safety association created by some major ATV manufacturers and based on the child’s age and size of the ATV.
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