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ROV's are the next great thing, but their safety record is very poor

ROV’s or Recreational Off-road vehicles, like their predecessors the ATV’s, were introduced into the recreational market in 2003. Since that time, they have been linked to serious injury and significant litigation. Here are 5 common accidents and how to prevent your involvement in an accident.

  1. Know that roll-over accidents are the main cause of injury and death.

    Since 2003, 181 accidents reports involving injury or death have been documented by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of those accidents involved multiple parties riding in the same ROV. There were 116 deaths and 152 injuries in 6 ½ years. It is worth noting that 69% of the crashes were caused by roll-over without a triggering mechanism such as over-steering. Therefore avoid putting the vehicle in a roll-over situation and do not assume that you are protected by a roll bar or other safety equipment.
  2. Keep a good look out for other objects, as this is the second cause of collision.

    Almost all of the remaining accidents, injuries or deaths were caused by striking another object or vehicle. Unlike a street vehicle, your road path is not clear and is not designed for safety. Therefore, drive defensively.
  3. Most roll-over accidents have a component of ejection. Despite the safety measures in these vehicles, ejection or partial ejection remains the cause of most deaths. Therefore make sure all your passengers are belted in tightly and avoid sudden moves to either side that would increase the likelihood of seat belt failure. Never let a rider stand or partially sit in your ROV when you operate it.
  4. Children are very susceptible to ejection and injury. Require your children to be fully belted, driver slower and make them wear a helmet and other protection. Never have a small child out for a ride on rough terrain.
  5. Remember that off-road vehicles are not covered by your auto insurance. If you are going to ride and have passengers on these vehicles, insure your ROV. If you don’t you could find yourself sued for all your worth in a wrongful death case, or case of serious injury.

Like motorcycles, ATV’s and other recreational vehicles, can be loads of safe fun. They can also be very dangerous. Take these precautions and you will enjoy your off-road experience much more, but if you do get hurt in an accident, contact our OC personal injury attorneys.

by James E. Ballidis

James Ballidis is the managing attorney for Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and has been practicing personal injury law for 25 years.

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