ATVs—all-terrain-vehicles—are a source of fun and adventure for many in the Calgary area and throughout Alberta. They’re also a major source of serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, and some Alberta residents are trying to change that.
As reported in the Calgary Herald, Denise Pelletier suffered a traumatic brain injury after being thrown from the passenger seat of an ATV and wasn’t expected to ever lead an independent life again. Fourteen years later, she has defied the odds and volunteers her time helping others with brain injuries—and working to get tougher laws in place to prevent ATV injuries.
“When you look at injuries, the majority are predictable, preventable and costly,” she says.
It isn’t just ATV riders who deal with the fallout of accidents and injuries, either. All taxpayers in the Calgary area and throughout the province pay for direct and indirect costs that arise from ATV-related injuries in the form of medical expenses, lost productivity, and administrative costs related to investigating accidents and enforcing existing regulations.
Tougher regulations, such as requiring helmets and raising the driving age for ATVs, would cost more to enforce but would lead to fewer injuries and much lower long-term costs to all Albertan taxpayers.
It should also be remembered that ATV drivers can be held liable for injuries caused to their passengers or to others in the area as the result of accidents they cause. Operating these vehicles comes with physical, legal, and financial risks—something everyone needs to think twice about.