A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission sheds light on accidents involving all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. According to the report, ATV crashes injured more than 100,000 people nationwide in 2011. In Virginia, 51 people were killed in ATV accidents during 2008-2011.
In one of its more troubling conclusions, the study found that head and neck trauma account for about 28% of ATV-related injuries. The second-most common ATV wreck injury is damage to the torso, which can include broken ribs, road rash, punctured lungs, spinal injuries, and other physical trauma.
Although riding ATVs is fun for many young people, kids under the age of 18 sustain almost 30% of all ATV injuries.
- Always wear safety equipment, especially a helmet, when riding an ATV. Protective clothing that covers the skin can drive down the odds of getting road rash or puncture wounds in an accident.
- Take an ATV safety course. ATV operators with formal safety training are less likely to lose control of the vehicle and get hurt.
- Avoid paved roads. ATVs are designed for off-road conditions and riders can lose control on normal pavement. Also, sharing the road with cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles can increase the chances of crashes that cause injuries or fatalities.
- Do not take passengers. Most ATVs are designed for a solo rider. Passengers can fall off the back or side of an ATV and sustain serious injuries.
- Train and supervise young riders and do not allow kids to use ATVs that are designed for adults. ATV injuries are especially common when kids under the age of 18 use adult-sized ATVs.
- Ride sober. Riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can increase the risk of a crash.