The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) defines a motor vehicle that travels on low pressure tires with handlebars for steering control and a seat which is straddled by an operator as an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Operation of ATVs is not legal on the streets in most states. Currently, they are intended to be ridden by only one person, according to ANSI.
ATV’s are used to travel over mountains, sand dunes, flatlands, sand dunes, rocky, rooty, muddy, and sandy roads. Riders prefer the handling of ATVs in mountainous terrain in contrast to other vehicles. The vehicle is operated similarly to a motorcycle but has more stability.
ATVs have raised controversy in the last few decades due to their association with illegal youth activity. This has led to friction between ATV users and rural landowners, child-safety advocates, outdoor recreationalists, and environmentalists.
In recent years, the industry has moved from 3-wheel to 4-wheel models to prevent injuries. However, some deaths still occur. In 2005, a total of 136,700 people came into emergency rooms for treatment of injuries associated with ATVs. In 2004, 767 fatalities occurred as a result of ATV accidents.
The use of ATVs with engines greater than 90 cc is prohibited for those under the age of 12. Some jurisdictions have banned use of all ATVs by children under 12. Some people have argued, however, that starting children on ATVs at a young age advocates safety. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approves the sale of sub 50cc ATVs for children as young as 6 years of age.