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7 Safety Recommendations for Your Next ATV Outing

Jason Reese


  • Several teenagers were involved in an ATV crash that left two hospitalized. The group of teens were not wearing helmets.
  • Although off-roading can be an enjoyable pastime when safe driving practices are followed, it is also inherently dangerous, especially for operators and passengers who are not wearing the appropriate gear.
  • ATV safety is an important conversation to have with teens as over 35 percent of the four-wheeler accidents Indiana conservation officers encounter involve operators under the age of 18.
  • Indiana passed a law in 2017 that now requires all children under age 18 to wear a helmet while riding or operating an off-road vehicle. The law took effect July 1, 2017.

Teenagers Injured in Southwestern Indiana ATV Crash Were Not Wearing Helmets

Indiana Department of Natural Resource authorities have reported a crash involving six teenagers, ages 13 to 15, and two off-road vehicles (ORV) in southwestern Indiana’s Pike County. Conservation officers said in a statement that the all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) collided when one of the vehicles slowed down and the driver of the other ORV rear-ended it. The DNR said the teenagers were not wearing helmets or safety gear resulting in two of the six teens to be hospitalized. In accordance with Indiana law, as of July 1, 2017 all children under 18 years are now required to wear a helmet on or in any ORV. This applies to all ORVs, including but not limited to ATVs, UTV, side-by-side vehicles, and dirt bikes operating on both public and private property.

There are many risk factors and causes of ATV crashes, including:

  • Over-speeding or rash driving.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Poor judgment of the operator.
  • The driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Toddlers riding in the front, with the driver, hindering the driver’s movement and creating extra distractions.
  • Overcrowding, or packing the ATV beyond the recommended weight.

According to DNR statistics, over 35 percent of Indiana’s ATV accidents involve operators under the age of 18. Safety officials say the biggest concerns in connection to these crashes are the lack of helmets or safety equipment being used and an increased occurrence of distracted driving.

Basic ATV/ORV Safety Recommendations

The past few years have been the deadliest for ATV deaths across the state. 2016 was one of the worst in Indiana when 21 lives, including those of many children, were lost to ATV related accidents. The attorneys at Wagner Reese would like to remind and warn parents about the dangers posed by all-terrain vehicles when safe operating and riding are not practiced. Follow these basic recommendations echoed by nearly every major ATV/ORV safety organization.

  1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
  2. Never ride on paved roads. The exception is to cross where permitted by law and in a safe manner.
  3. Never operate or ride an ATV/ORV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  4. Pay strict attention to rider maximums. Never allow additional riders beyond what is intended for the ATV/ORV.
  5. Only ride an ATV/ORV that is size-appropriate for the age of the driver.
  6. Ride at a safe speed and only on designated trails.
  7. Take a hands-on ATV/ORV safety course.

When an ATV ride becomes tragic, victims are often left with life-altering injuries, such as head and facial injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and neck and spinal cord injuries including paralysis. We want outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy a thrilling ATV ride but to do that, drivers and their passengers need to stay safe by following these basic recommendations. And if nothing else, at the very least, always wear a helmet.

Has Your Teen Been Injured in an ATV Accident?

If your teen has been involved in an ATV accident, call the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Wagner Reese. Our lawyers have decades of experience in handling these sensitive cases, and we work to help our clients and their families seek the best legal solution. Our initial consultations are always free, and we never collect fees from you until your case is settled or won.

Connect with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.


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