ATV Safety: What to Know Before You Ride

By Intermountain Trauma Managers Group

All-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) are popular for both recreational use and on farms and ranches. It must be remembered that these vehicles can be dangerous, especially for children and teenagers who lack the skills and experience when operating these devices.

atv

Over the years, ATV’s have gained popularity with the public. Conversely, the number of serious injuries and even fatalities has risen as well.

Research has shown that common causes of ATV accidents can be attributed to the following:

  • Too much power: Skill level should be matched to the size of the vehicle. Children should never ride an adult size ATV.
  • Challenging Terrain: Riders frequently get into trouble when operating an ATV in terrain such as steep and rocky slopes that they do not have the skill level to know that they need to shift their weight- which is a common cause of rollovers.
  • Overloaded ATV’s: ATV’s are designed for one rider only. Too many people on an ATV can cause it to roll.
  • Drug and Alcohol Use: Operating an ATV while impaired by drugs and or alcohol.
  • Unfamiliar Terrain: Riding on unfamiliar terrain such as the Little Sarah Sand Dunes.

State of Utah Data as reported by the "The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Total Reported Deaths (1982-2011): 207

*Data collection for 2008-2011is ongoing


Reported Deaths (1982-2007): 159


Reported Deaths (2008-2011): 48

*Data collection for 2008-2011is ongoing


Reported Deaths (1982-2007): 65

Children under 16


Key Points for Safe Operation of an ATV from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Get Trained

Take a hands-on safety training course. Drivers with formal, hands-on ATV training have a lower injury risk than drivers with no formal training. Utah Law requires riders age 8 to 16, who do not have driver’s licenses, to take certified courses before they can legally ride.

Always Wear Protective Gear

Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may prevent or reduce the severity of these injuries. In addition, wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees and other debris.

Do Not Drive ATV’s with a Passenger or Ride as a Passenger

Nearly all ATVs are designed to carry only one person. ATVs are designed for interactive riding – drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it very difficult for drivers to control the ATV.

Do Not Drive on Paved Roads

ATVs are very difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles have also led to many fatalities involving ATVs operated on paved roads.

Do not permit Children to Drive or Ride Adult ATV’s

Children are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room-treated injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children younger than 16 are twice as likely to be injured on adult ATVs as compared to those riding youth ATVs.

Do Not Drive ATV’s while under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Utah ATV Laws:

• All ATVs manufactured after 1987 must be titled.

• All ATVs operated on public lands must be registered, renewing registration once each year.

• No one under 8 may operate an ATV on public lands.

• To operate an ATV on public lands, the operator must possess a safety training certificate or a driver's license.

• ATV use on streets or highways is prohibited, unless crossing these roads or the road has been designated as an Off-Highway Vehicle riding area.

• ATVs shall not be operated between sunset and sunrise without a lighted taillight and headlight.

Helpful Links:
http://www.atvsafety.org/
http://treadlightly.org/quick-tips-for-responsible-atv-riding/?gclid=CJDTn5OwirkCFUJlMgodA3cAjw
http://www.atvcourse.com/usa/utah/?gclid=CP3PyOawirkCFYN_QgodLQ4Atw
http://www.atvsafety.gov/
http://atvsafetynet.org/