Florida Highway Patrol reports that a 17 year old girl died last Thursday in an ATV crash. They also indicate that a younger girl was also critically injured in the same accident.
The victim was operating the four wheel vehicle in the late afternoon when she failed to maneuver around a curve.
The police say that her vehicle hit the shoulder, was propelled onto an embankment, and then hit several small trees. The ATV then struck a large tree limb that was elevated off the ground which struck and knocked the two young people off the vehicle.
The deceased teen died at the scene and the injured younger person was taken to the hospital where she was reported to be in critical condition.
Florida police are currently investigating this accident.
From what I can reasonably determine, it has not as yet been determined who owned the ATV in question and if it was indeed owned by a third party and rented to the victims, were the victims provided the requisite education and training prior to the operation of the vehicle.
To determine the appropriate standard of care owed by an owner of an ATV to a would be renter and the responsibilities of a prospective rider we can look to the standards promulgated by All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI),
ASI was created twenty five years ago to establish a national protocol for ATV awareness, education and safety. ASI’s most important aim is to educate the nation as to the responsible and safe way to operate an ATV, which they hope shall serve to reduce crashes and injuries.
ASI has “golden rules” which they encourage all prospective ATV operators to be know. They urge operators to always wear a Department of Transportation compliant helmet. long shirt sleeves and pants, goggles and over the ankle shoes and gloves. They urge riders to never take an ATV out on a paved road. ATV’s they remind us are not designed to be used on highways. They remind us to never operate this vehicle after drinking alcohol or drugs and to never carry a passenger. These were clearly issues in this tragic accident as well as the fact that the victims were apparently on a paved road at the time of the crash. They further urge that riders under the age of 16 are to be supervised. The critically injured surviving passenger was under the age of 16. They also remind riders to travel only on designated ATV trails, at a reasonable speed, and to take a free ATV Rider course prior to operation.