Kentucky Ranked 4th In 2013 With Most ATV Deaths In U.S.

Kentucky has many areas that are perfect for riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). However, some of these places are difficult to maneuver and can be dangerous to even an experienced driver. From 2008-2011, Kentucky had 120 ATV deaths. This placed Kentucky in fourth place for the states with the most ATV deaths.

Related: Kentucky Driving: Watch Out for Deer On the Loose!


  • The states with the most ATV deaths for the period of 2008-2011 included: West Virginia (144), Texas (134), California (124), Kentucky (120) and Pennsylvania (112).
  • Pike, Breathitt, Floyd, Harlan, Letcher, Clay, Leslie, Pulaski, Bell, Laurel, Perry, Trigg and Whitley are the top Kentucky counties in ATV deaths.
  • There were 419 ATV deaths in Kentucky reported from 1982-2007. Of those, 89 involved children under 16.
  • When it comes to deaths or fatal ATV accidents, 35% of those killed were children ages 16-years-old or younger. Nearly one-half of all people injured in ATV accidents are under 16 years of age.

The law
KRS 189.515 clearly states that all riders and passengers (16-years-old or older) are required to wear approved protective headgear prescribed by the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet. However, this approved headgear requirement is not applicable in the following instances:

  • In farm or agriculture, mining or mining exploration or logging activities
  • In any other business, commercial or industrial activity
  • Use of the vehicle on private property

Always wear a helmet when you ride an ATV
Statistics show that over one in five ATV injuries involve head injuries and over 50% of ATV injuries were people not wearing protective equipment. ATV riding can be risky. That's why we always need to wear protective gear, especially a helmet. Most ATV accidents cause injuries, like traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a helmet will help reduce the chances of a head injury. Make sure that the helmet you are using is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Wearing protective clothing such as gloves, long pants, goggles and over-the ankle boots is also recommended.

Related: Is It Important for Adults to Wear Bicycle Helmets?

As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I encourage all ATV riders and passengers to observe safety tips. While ATV rider training is not mandatory in Kentucky (unless ordered by a judge for violations), it is still better to get trained than it is to "wing it." For drivers, do not carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, try to avoid unfamiliar or hazardous terrain, bad weather or with insufficient light and do not drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Just like driving a car while under the influence, driving an ATV impaired could cost you your life. If you're a passenger, remember that a good ATV rider is considerate and also wears appropriate safety gear. Riding on an ATV is a fun activity. Let's keep it that way by wearing protective gear and practicing safe driving and riding habits.

Michael Schafer
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The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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