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U.S. Deaths Linked to ATVs Rose by a Third in One Year
  • Posted May 31, 2024

U.S. Deaths Linked to ATVs Rose by a Third in One Year

In just one year, U.S. deaths linked to the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) jumped by a third, according to the latest report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

With another summer set to begin and ATVs brought out of storage, the agency is warning of the dangers from ATVs, also known as off-highway vehicles (OHVs).

Children could face the biggest risk of death or severe injury.

"Deaths have gone up by 33% and those affected are disproportionately male," CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. "We are also seeing more deaths from OHV use in children under 16. We must reverse this trend and put safe riding first by wearing a helmet with proper gear and staying off paved roads."

The agency's report covered deaths and injuries related to ATV use for the year 2020, that latest for which good data is available. Deaths linked to ATV use jumped by a third compared to rates seen in 2019, the report found.

Too often, a young child was hurt or killed. Among ATV-related deaths to kids, 44% involved a child age 12 or younger, the CPSC said.

Older Americans were also at high risk: The report found that 30% of ATV-linked deaths occurred in users age 55 or older.

Between 2018 and the end of 2022, over 504,000 people were treated for ATV-linked injuries in America's emergency rooms.

"Fractures, contusions/abrasions and internal organ injuries are the most common diagnoses, with 76% of those injured treated and released," the CPSC said.

Trying to stem the tide of injuries and deaths, the CPSC said it has already issued 24 recalls linked to unsafe ATV equipment since the beginning of 2023.

But the agency said there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your children safe while riding an ATV:

  • Keep ATVs off-road, where they belong. Only ride these vehicles on a paved public road if necessary to cross, where permitted by law.

  • Never drink and drive. What's true for regular vehicles is doubly true for less stable ATVs.

  • Respect age limits. Don't place a child under the age of 16 on an ATV meant for adults -- kids should use ATV models meant for youngsters.

  • Use safety gear. This includes  eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. 

More information

There's more on the safe use of ATVs by kids at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

SOURCE: Consumer Product Safety Commission, news release, May 30, 2024

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