All-terrain vehicles remain in the spotlight

A timely paper by Denning, Harland, Ellis and Jennissen appeared in our ‘Online First’ register right before Christmas, and given the hectic nature of the festive season, I wanted to encourage our readers to make themselves familiar with the findings. All-terrain vehicles remain a controversial transportation mode in countries including the United States, Canada, and Australia where they are frequently used in rural environs. For those unaware of the injury risks, research consistently reveals that ATVs are a particularly dangerous form of transportation (approximating the risk associated with motorcycles), especially for the youngest users. ATVs have featured prominently in the Australian media over the past few years, with over 150 people being killed in ATV crashes on their farm since 2001. Victims included children (aged less than 16 years). ATVs are highly vulnerable to rollover, and protection measures such as quadbars and helmets remain contentious. The Online First research summarises the characteristics of ATV crashes which occurred from 1985 through 2009 across the United States, finding that in addition to farm risks, many fatal crashes occurred on roadways. This is particularly relevant as ATV’s are not designed for general roadway use, and these crashes were characterised by additional risk-taking driver behaviour such as carrying passengers and driving after drinking alcohol. Further, head injuries were halved for helmet wearers. This research highlights the difficulties facing policy-makers and enforcers within a climate of ever-increasing ATV sales.


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