The United States Forest Service defines mudding as any activity that involves the use of motor vehicles (particularly trucks) on wet ground, over streams, lakeshores, lakebeds, and rivers. When mudding, drivers may intentionally try to drive through deep mud pits, spin their tires, and generally get their trucks dirty. The activity has become increasingly popular in rural areas, and has also led to the development of more organized “dirt track” circuits across the country. While more communities are hosting organized mudding events, these events have received more recent attention for the unique dangers they pose to people and to the environment. Unlike other organized motorsports events, the vehicles used may not have safety features required to keep both spectators and racers safe.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on a recent accident in Georgia at a mudding event that left two brothers killed and an eleven year old dead. The driver of a truck reportedly lost control of his vehicle after his vehicle suffered a mechanical failure. The driver was making a run through a mud pit when the throttle of his vehicle became stuck.
When you combine rough terrain and mechanics, a small error on the part of the driver or machine can lead to tragedy. Unlike events like NASCAR or other organized racing, the vehicles being used for mudding may not be subject to high level safety standards, meaning that both participants and observers could be knowingly or unknowingly putting themselves at risk.
Mudding does more than put individuals and observers at risk of accidents and personal injuries. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, mudding can destroy native plants, destroy native ecosystems, and contaminate local aquifers. When natural plants are destroyed, weeds can grow in their place, disrupting the often fragile and delicate ecosystems that are already threatened. Mudding can hurt fish downstream, interfering with fragile salmon and trout habitats. Not only does mudding threaten fish, it also can destroy fragile wetlands that are breeding grounds for endangered birds and other species. Because of the immense damage that mudding can do to the natural environment, it is against the law on Federal lands. Individuals who go mudding on forest service lands not only run the risk of facing fines, but they also could face civil lawsuits from the federal government, requiring them to pay for the expensive environmental mitigation efforts that may be required after mudding.
Have you been in a mudding accident? Were you trying to enjoy park lands when a reckless driver harmed you or your family? You may have important rights under the law. Visit the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Gregg today in Dallas, Texas. Our attorneys can review the details of your case and may be able to help you fight to receive damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.