Study Finds Teens More Likely to Die During ATV Accidents

Older male adolescents and teens appear to face increased risks of ATV accident injuries and deaths.

A new study suggests teens are more likely to suffer severe injuries from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident, and face a substantially greater risky of dying from those crashes than older riders.

According to Canadian researchers, teens under the age of 16 are at the greatest risk of being killed or hospitalized with life-threatening injuries from an ATV accident. Their findings were published on May 31 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Researchers used data from 54,824 patients hospitalized in Canada with ATV-related injuries from 2002 to 2019, to determine whether children and teens are more likely to sustain more severe ATV-related injuries or die, compared to adult patients. The study examined the risk of death among adolescents who were hospitalized with injuries related to the use of ATV’s, and compared them to the risk among older patients, after a survey conducted in Canada revealed increasing rates of pediatric hospitalizations.

The findings suggest adolescents have a higher risk of sustaining severe trauma requiring hospitalization, or dying from an ATV accident, compared to adults. Adolescent males, particularly those 16 years of age or older, were found to have the highest risk of death, and were two to three more times more likely to be admitted to a hospital with a severe or life-threatening injury among any other age group or gender.

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According to the findings, between 75% and 84% of patients hospitalized with an ATV-related injury were under the age of 20 years old and were male. Male adolescents were also found to be three to four times more likely to die from an ATV accident than female adolescents.

Researchers have long recommended that minimum age restrictions for ATV’s be implemented to protect children and young adolescences from the increased risk of severe pediatric injuries and fatalities. However, the findings of this new study have now revealed that ATV policies and public health messages should also target older youths as well.

ATV Risks for Adolescents

Recreational vehicles, including ATV’s are designed to be driven on unpaved, off-road terrains. The vehicles are often unstable and can be difficult to control when driven on paved surfaces, as their wheels and shocks are designed for rougher terrains. As a result, the vehicles regularly pose a tip-over hazard when making turns, especially at increased speeds.

A warning regarding the use of ATV’s was released in August 2020 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), indicating that children under the age of 16 years old have the highest risk of injury and death from an ATV accident.

According to data from that report, more than 81,800 ATV-related injuries were treated in the emergency department in 2018, and an estimated 26% involved adolescences younger than 16 years of age. The most common injuries reported included contusions, abrasions and fractures.


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