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Are off-highway vehicles such as ATVs becoming more dangerous?

There are many ways to enjoy Minnesota’s beautiful outdoors, maybe none more exhilarating than on an off-highway vehicle such as an ATV. Zipping through some of the region’s most stunning locales can be an ideal way to spend a nice day.

Unless something goes wrong. A defective vehicle can lead to devastating results for riders and their loved ones, even if they took all safety precautions possible. And the number of problematic vehicles appears to be rising.

Recalls of off-highway vehicles are climbing

An analysis by the Consumer Federation of America found the number of off-highway vehicles recalled each year has climbed over the past decade. From Jan. 1, 2010, through May 10, 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued 92 recalls of off-highway vehicles, including ATVs, UTVs and OHVs.

Fifty-five of those recalls – that’s more than half – came from just 2016-18. There were a decade-high 24 recalls in 2017 alone, the same number issued in total from 2010 through 2014. Fuel, steering and throttle hazards were the most common reasons for a recall, with the CPSC citing fire and crash hazards as particular risks.

There were consequences for some riders. The analysis tallied at least 63 injuries and at least two deaths linked to off-highway vehicles that were later recalled.

Safety and accountability

Midway through 2019, there have been seven recalls of off-highway vehicles due in part to crash, injury or fire hazards. One even resulted in six crashes, including reports of a concussion and a broken nose.

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury while on an ATV, UTV or other off-road vehicle. That includes wearing safety gear such as a helmet, never driving while impaired and keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles.

When a product is incorrectly designed or has an overlooked, dangerous defect, whatever safety steps you as a consumer make might not matter. If that is the case, it may be possible to hold whoever is responsible accountable, and potentially get compensation for injuries and other damages that occurred as a result of the problem.

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