All-terrain vehicles pose safety hazard

  • Published
  • By Tim Snyder
  • 95th Air Base Wing Ground Safety
An estimated 740 people died in 2003 in incidents associated with all terrain vehicles. In addition, in 2004 there were an estimated 136,100 emergency room-treated injuries associated with ATVs. About a third of all deaths and injuries involved victims under 16 years old. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reported that ridership has continued to grow, with 6.2 million four-wheeled ATVs in use in 2003.

The major ATV manufacturers agreed in consent decrees in 1988 and in subsequent voluntary action plans that they would not manufacture three-wheel ATVs, they would place engine size restrictions on ATVs sold for use by children under 16, and they would offer driver-training programs.

These years are the latest years for which the relevant data is available. Children and young people under the age of 16 should not ride adult ATVs. 

Too many all-terrain vehicle riders -- young and old -- are dying or experiencing life-altering injuries from incidents involving ATVs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends all ATV riders follow the seven safety tips below every time they ride:

  • All ATV users should take a hands-on safety training course.
  • Always wear a helmet and safety gear such as boots and gloves while on an ATV.
  • Never drive an ATV on paved roads.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never drive a youth or single-rider adult ATV with a passenger, and never ride these vehicles as a passenger.
  • There are some ATVs that are designed for two riders. Passengers on tandem ATVs should be at least 12 years old.