7-Year-Old Dies in ATV Accident

Springtime seems to be a popular time for all-terrain vehicles. Unfortunately another death has been reported of a young ATV rider. A seven-year-old from Interlachen, Florida, was riding on an ATV Sunday, April 11, in the evening when the ATV overturned and landed on her. A 31-year-old male was riding on a Polaris ATV with his daughter when they braked suddenly to avoid hitting two dogs. The vehicle overturned on the left side. According to News4Jax, the little girl was airlifted the Shands Gainesville but died from internal bleeding, despite the fact that she was wearing a helmet. Her father received minor injuries. One of the dogs was also killed.

Our condolences go out to the family of this little first-grader. She spoke to her father before she was airlifted and told him she loved him. He said he had no idea her injuries were that serious. May the family find the strength to cope. She is in our prayers.

ATV Accidents in Florida
Many people commenting to the newspaper article say that accidents happen. And they do. But manufacturers also make defective products that represent a danger to small riders. For example, the Polaris, made by Polaris Industries Inc. recalled about 11,300 Outlaw IRS ATVs for the model year 2006 to 2008. The problem – a retention bolt can loosen causing the wheel in the rear to lock up. There have been at least 11 reports of loss of control. Then in August, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 3,800 Polaris Ranger Crew and side-by-side recreational vehicles. An electrical short posed a fire hazard. In July, 2009, Polaris recalled 4,700 of the Sportsman ESP XP model. That was the second Polaris recall of the month and this time again for the potential fire hazard. Auto accidents in Florida happen, but manufacturers also sell products with known defects in order to make a profit.

ATVs Popular Today
There are estimated to be about 9 million ATVs in use today up from 400,000 in the mid 80s. They are not only heavier today but they can attain speeds of 100 mph. The center of gravity is still so high that a tip-over can occur at speeds as low as 15 mph. Some safety rules will help reduce injuries.

First- a helmet with a face shield and goggles should fit snugly and fit certification stands by the American National Standards Institute. Leather boots or shoes should be worn. Children should never be allowed to operate an ATV that is designed for an adult, only and no one under the age of six should ever operate an ATV. No one under age 16 should operate an adult ATV. Parents should always use sense to judge whether your child is mature enough to operate an ATV. They are not meant to be used on pavement. Do use reflectors to increase visibility. Follow the manufacturer’s riding instructions. Remember more than 10,000 people have died since records were kept about ATVs in the 1980s and about 2,500 have been children.

Why is the public protective of an industry that has repeatedly resisted a stability safety standard? If you have lost a loved one in a Florida auto or all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) accident, it is well-advised to consult an experienced Florida auto accident wrongful death attorney to preserve your rights.