The Need for Speed: But at What Cost?

atvMany people enjoy being adventurous and getting a thrill. All-Terrain Vehicles are great for this as they allow you to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and have some off-road fun all at the same time. In fact, many individuals grow up riding ATVs with their family and friends and even learn to operate them at a very young age.

However, this fun activity can instantly turn into a tragedy. Unfortunately, ATV accidents are fairly common and can result in just some cuts and scrapes or life- threatening injuries or worst of all, death.

Just yesterday, a 14-year-old girl of St. Tammany Parish lost her life due to an ATV accident. She and her friend were riding a four-wheeler when they failed to maneuver a curve and crashed into a tree. The initial cause of death was reported to be blunt force trauma. It is very unlikely that either young girl was even permitted to be driving the ATV at the time of the accident.

In Louisiana, “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to cause or knowingly permit a minor child under the age of seventeen to drive a motor vehicle or a power cycle upon any public road or highway in this state unless such child shall have first obtained a license to drive a motor vehicle.”  La. Rev. Stat. §32:417(A).

In fact, a parent or guardian may be charged for the improper supervision of a minor … for allowing the unlicensed minor to operate a motor vehicle on a public road which results in the serious bodily injury or death of another person. La. Rev. Stat. §14:92.2.

A recent U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study revealed that there were 526,900 emergency department-treated injuries associated with off highway vehicle’s within a span of 5 years in the United States.

Of these incidents, 26% were children under the age of 15 and 23% were individuals between the ages of 16 and 24.  The most common injuries were 30% fractures and 18% contusions/abrasions. It is reported that these injuries most commonly affect the head and neck (29%), arm from shoulders to fingertips (29%), torso (22%) and leg (21%).

ATV’s weigh hundreds of pounds and can reach very high speeds making them hard to control, especially for a young person. A carefree joyride should NEVER end with death or serious injury. To avoid an ATV accident, you should: wear safety gear, be properly trained to operate the vehicle, be of the proper age, ride at a safe speed and in harmless weather conditions, and stay on off road terrain.

If you find yourself in the position where you or a loved one has been injured in an ATV accident, call us today for a free consultation! WGNO (ABC affiliate) Legal Analyst, Cliff Cardone, has helped clients throughout all of Louisiana with their personal injury needs for over 40 years. PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at

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