ATV Accidents on Paved Roads, Parking Lots Pose Particularly Serious Injury Risk: CPSC

With the summer months approaching, federal safety officials are urging riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) to stay off of paved public roads and parking lots, warning that there are hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries reported each year involving ATV accidents on hard pavement. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a public service announcement this month, advising ATV drivers to stay off of public roads and paved surfaces, explaining the vehicles are not intended for these types of surfaces and can pose greater crash and injury risks to riders and passengers.

According to a recent CPSC Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, every year there are about 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries recorded involving ATVs, with nearly one-third of them occurring on paved roads and parking lots around vehicle traffic.

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Off-road vehicles are not designed to be driven on paved roadways and can be extremely difficult to control, increasing the risk of a tip-over hazard.

Most states have banned the use of ATVs on public roadways, but not all. Officials warn that the use of ATVs on paved roadways puts them at a higher risk of colliding with cars, trucks, and other vehicles that increase the risk of fatality.

A review of recent crash data from 2016 has shown 101,200 individuals riding ATVs were treated at emergency rooms in the United States, an increase of 4,000 injuries reported in 2015. Researchers identified that between 2010 and 2013, more than 2,400 deaths related to ATVs were reported for all surfaces. At least 770 of those fatalities occurred on paved roads and parking lots in which drivers of ATVs collided with vehicles or suffered fatal injuries from impacting pavement.

In addition to avoiding paved surfaces when riding ATVs, the CPSC recommends that parents or caregivers of teenagers and children riding ATVs always ensure they use proper safety equipment. The use of a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and long sleeved shirts is strongly encouraged.

Parents should never allow children to ride ATVs without proper training of how the vehicle works to prevent crashes. The CPSC recommends any riders under the age of 16 years old receive hand-on training from a qualified instructor, and to never ride with more passengers than there are seats.

According to the findings of a 2014 study also published in the medical journal Pediatrics, 95% of ATV deaths involving children occurred on larger ATVs designed for adult riders, as opposed to ATVs designed for younger riders. Often, children are not able to control the steering or operate the ATV at increased speeds. Girls were more likely to die on ATVs than boys, and the age range of 12-15 years old had the highest proportion of fatalities.

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