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All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) sold in the U.S. come with a warning label to steer clear of roads. Not everyone heeds this warning, resulting in property damage, serious injury and even death. 

The stories are nothing short of heartbreaking and South Carolina has had more than its share of ATV related tragedies. In August 2017, a 15-year-old and a 19-year-old were riding on a Lowcountry road when they were thrown off the vehicle after it veered off the roadway, struck a ditch and overturned. The 15-year-old sustained serious injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital, the 19-year-old driver, however, died at the scene.

Legislative action

In 2003, a young boy’s death sparked legislative action and in 2011, Chandler’s Law was enacted. The law requires an ATV operator be at least six years of age. Those 15 and under must successfully complete an approved ATV safety course in order to operate an ATV on public land. They must also wear a helmet and eye protection whether driving, or riding as a passenger. Chandler’s Law also makes it unlawful for a driver less than 16 years old, who does not possess a driver’s license, to carry a passenger on an ATV.

With good reason, much attention has been focused on safety concerns for the youngest operators of ATVs, but accidents on public roads involving drivers of all ages are increasing, and safety advocates fear the number will continue to climb.

Accidents by the numbers

Over the last five years, Farm Bureau Insurance® has paid out over one million dollars in ATV related losses. A number of the losses were automobile claims involving ATV operators driving on public roads. In one incident, the ATV operator ran a stop sign causing a head on collision between two vehicles. One of the involved vehicles was insured by Farm Bureau Insurance. In a separate accident, a driver attempted to pass an ATV. When the ATV driver turned suddenly in front of the vehicle, a collision resulted.

Safety tips

When driving, always take special precaution if you encounter an ATV on, alongside, or crossing the road. While ATV’s can reach highway speeds, their low pressure, knobby tires are not designed for paved surfaces, making the ATV difficult to control in certain situations. Give the ATV operator plenty of room.

Before purchasing an ATV, be sure to consider all the risks that come with owning and operating it. If you already own an ATV, make every effort NOT to operate the vehicle on paved surfaces, and when crossing a paved road, take extra precaution.

ATV insurance protection

Only 17 percent of ATVs insured by Farm Bureau Insurance have both physical damage and liability coverage. Having the proper insurance protection will help limit your financial losses if you are responsible for an accident resulting in property damage or injury. Liability coverage should also be considered if you carry passengers on the ATV or allow others to operate your ATV.

Be sure to discuss your coverage needs with your Farm Bureau Insurance agent, who can help you review all available ATV coverage options.

Need Insurance? Get a Quote Today

In addition to insurance coverage for personal and commercial vehicles, RVs, motorcycles and boats, Farm Bureau Insurance offers products and coverage options for a wide range of other vehicles and outdoor recreational vehicles, including: ATVs, golf carts, motor scooters/mopeds and personal watercraft (PWC). Speak with a local Farm Bureau Insurance agent to find out more about our various insurance coverage options and get a quote today.