One Oklahoma man was killed and another injured in an ATV accident last night in McCurtain County. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Richard Dewayne Davis, 45, of Haworth, died of injuries sustained when he lost control of the ATV he was driving on a dirt road near Haworth. He and his passenger, Rodney Wayne Jeffries, also 45, were taken to an Idabel hospital with head and trunk injuries. Davis died as a result of head injuries sustained in the wreck shortly before 9:00 p.m. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol blames unsafe speed and a lack of safety equipment for the accident and resulting injuries. All-terrain vehicles are notoriously dangerous. In fact, the first three-wheeled models once widely popular in the United States have since been banned from sale in the U.S. However, even the four-wheeled ATVs, or quads, have been subject to numerous product recalls for safety issues. As recently as February 2012, American Honda recalled the Honda FourTrax Rancher ATV models TRX420TE and TRX420TM to remedy a crash hazard. The recall stated that a weld on the ATV's front right upper suspension arm could separate, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. In Oklahoma, there were 179 reported ATV accident deaths between 1982 and 2010, with 50 of those deaths reported since 2007, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) ATV safety website at ATVsafety.gov. To help minimize injuries and deaths from ATV accidents, Oklahoma has enacted several laws and regulations for ATV riders:
- All riders, including drivers and passengers, must wear helmets when riding in certain designated riding areas
- All ATVs purchased on or since July 1, 2005 must be registered and titles
- ATVs are not street-legal and may not be operated on streets or highways, except to cross the road or a railroad track during daylight hours, or on unpaved roads on U.S. Forest Service property
The CPSC encourages all ATV operators to take a rider safety course and asserts that no rider under the age of 16 should ever ride an adult-sized ATV. Though rider inexperience is considered the leading factor in ATV crashes, defective ATVs are responsible for many serious accidents. If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle, contact an Oklahoma ATV accident attorney to find out more about how you may be able to obtain compensation for your injury or loss.