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Sobering statistics: Texas ranks first in ATV fatalities

People in Texas are proud of a lot of things, most especially their state; but there is one thing most Texans are probably not as proud of, and that's where we rank in the nation for all-terrain vehicle fatalities.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Texas ranks first in the country for having the most reported deaths associated with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Between 1982 and 2012, Texas saw nearly 700 people die in ATV collisions - 698 to be exact. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, we saw 82 people killed in ATV accidents, and data is still being compiled for 2016 and 2017.

Sadly, these statistics don't include more recent deaths including an 11-year-old boy in Palmer on May 29, a 10-year-old boy in Parker County on June 9, and a 4-year-old child in El Paso at the end of June, just to name a few.

What causes ATV accidents?

There is never a single cause for all ATV accidents. In many cases, driver negligence and reckless driving are to blame. In other cases, such as the death of the 11-year-old boy, alcohol can be a factor. Rollover accidents are also common when drivers misjudge hills or terrain, causing the vehicle to flip and cause fatal crush injuries.

ATVs are a costly adventure

The hope is always that each new tragedy will teach us how dangerous ATVs are and how important rider safety is to bringing yearly ATV fatalities to zero. Unfortunately, there is always one piece of information that could help us learn this lesson faster: how much these accidents cost victims and their families.

Accidents resulting in injury can easily total tens of thousands of dollars when you add up the cost of an ambulance ride, a hospital stay, surgeries, rehabilitation or therapy, hospital equipment such as crutches or wheelchairs, medication and temporary or permanent in-home care. In fatal crashes, costs can escalate when funeral and burial expenses are added to the equation.

With ATVs being such a popular recreational vehicle in Texas, it's important for riders and passengers alike to know the dangers associated with these machines. It's also important to know that a crash involving one of these vehicles comes with a steep financial and emotional price tag. 

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