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January Tips of the Month: ATV

The average risk of injury from ATV riding is high. Over its estimated seven-year life, the average ATV has a one-in-three chance of being involved in an accident resulting in injury. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still concerned about young people under 16 years of age who are killed or injured riding adult-sized ATVs. The total cost of deaths and injuries to young people under the age of 16 amounted to more than $500 million in 1989. The cost of deaths and injuries associated with ATV's is about $3,500 per ATV over the life of the product.

ATVs are not toys
Children under 12 years of age should not operate any ATV. This is because they lack adequate physical size and strength, cognitive abilities, motor skills and perception to operate a motor vehicle safely. ATVs are difficult to ride and require constant attention to avoid crashes.

Don't let children under 16 ride adult-size ATVs

Children between the ages of 12 and 15 should not operate adult-size (greater than 90cc) ATVs. The risk of injury for 12-15 year old drivers of adult ATVs is one and one-half to two times the average risk of injury on ATVs. CPSC has received reports of 168 deaths to children between 12 and 15 years of age. Most deaths have occurred on adult-size ATVs.

Take a training course
Inexperienced drivers in their first month of using an ATV have 13 times the average risk of injury. Beginning drivers should receive a training course from certified instructors, and basic maneuvers taught in training should be practiced regularly on safe terrain. Children should ride only under close adult supervision.

Helmets save lives
According to the CPSC injury survey, three-fourths of the drivers with head injuries were not wearing an approved helmet. Without the protection of a helmet the risk of head injury was twice as high as when the injured person wore a helmet. Over half of the injured persons had worn no protective equipment, such as helmets, gloves and heavy boots. Helmets could have saved the lives of approximately 25 percent of the people who died from head injuries in ATV crashes.

Do not ride double
ATVs are designed for one driver and no passengers. The presence of a passenger seriously impairs the driver's ability to shift weight in order to steer and control the ATV.

No paved roads or alcohol
According to the CPSC survey almost 10 percent of the injuries and over 25 percent of the deaths occurred while operating the ATV on paved roads. These crashes occur because of collisions with other vehicles and because ATVs are difficult to control on pavement. In 30 percent of all fatal ATV crashes alcohol was involved.

 

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