ATV Deaths Decline, Injuries Remain High

April 28, 2014

According to data released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, child deaths decreased slightly in 2012, while serious injuries caused by all-terrain vehicles to ATV riders of all ages appear to have increased slightly in 2012. Tragically, at least 54 children lost their lives and 26,500 were injured seriously enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency department.

ATV“ATV deaths and serious injuries impact the lives of over 100,000 families every year. ATVs cause more deaths and injuries than almost any other product under CPSC’s jurisdiction,” stated Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and senior counsel for Consumer Federation of America. “The significant impact of ATV deaths and injuries compels design and other changes to substantially reduce these tragic incidents.”

“It is clear from these most recent data that ATVs continue to pose a danger to children,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns all parents that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV.”

The CPSC released its 2012 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries on April 21, 2014.  Major findings include:

  • Estimates of serious injuries requiring emergency room treatment among people of all ages increased from 107,500 in 2011 to 107,900 in 2012.
  • The 2012 emergency department-treated injury estimate for all ages reflects an increase of 0.4 percent over the 2011 estimate, which is not statistically significant.
  • The estimated number of ATV-related fatalities for all ages decreased from 771 in 2010 to 684 in 2011.  The agency notes, however, that the 2011 data is not considered complete.
  • In 2012, ATVs killed at least 54 children younger than 16, accounting for 15 percent of ATV fatalities. Fifty-seven percent of children killed were younger than 12 years old.
  • Children under age 16 suffered an estimated 26,500 serious injuries in 2012, a decrease from 29,000 in 2011, which represented 25 percent of all injuries.  This slight decrease is not statistically significant.
  • The 2012 emergency department treated injury estimate for children younger than 16 years of age represents an 8.6 percent decrease over the 2011 estimate, although this is not a statistically significant increase.

It is important to note that there is always a lag with death reports making their way to the CPSC and therefore the 2011 statistics should not be considered complete. For example, when child death statistics for the year 2006 were first reported in 2007, the number stood at 111; since that time, additional data collection has increased that number to 143.

In 2002, consumer groups filed a petition with the CPSC calling for the CPSC to ban the sale of adult-size ATVs for use by children. While the agency under the leadership of Chairman Hal Stratton denied the petition, the CPSC began a rulemaking process to create new ATV safety standards. Former CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum had directed staff to follow the mandate of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and promulgate new federal safety rules. On August 12, 2011, Congress passed H.R. 2715 which amended the CPSIA and which directed the CPSC to complete the ATV rulemaking within a year of enactment. The rule has not yet been completed.

In March 2014, CFA released a report, “ATVs on Roadways: A Safety Crisis” documenting the growing trend of states permitting ATV use on roads, a practice that contradicts recommendations from CPSC public health, consumer and ATV industry groups. “CPSC’s data in the Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries is a critical source of information for those working to decrease ATV deaths and injuries,” stated Weintraub. “It would be even more useful if CPSC included information about ATV deaths and injuries taking place on and off road.”

Both Consumer Federation of America and the AAP continue to call upon the agency to reject the manufacture of a transitional, “youth model” ATV for 14- to 16-year-olds that is capable of traveling at speeds up to 38 miles per hour.

The CPSC, industry, and many consumer advocates recommend that children ages 12 through 15 not ride ATVs with engines larger than 90 cc’s. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under age 16 ride an ATV of any size.

Source:  Consumer Federation of America 

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