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All-Terrain Vehicle ATV Safety

All-Terrain Vehicle ATV Safety


All-Terrain Vehicle ATV Safety

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All-terrain vehicles, commonly known as ATVs, are used across the country for work and play. While they are helpful and fun vehicles, accidents can happen. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which maintains injury statistics for ATVs, found that in 2019 alone nearly 98,000 people received emergency room treatment for ATV-related injuries.  Below please read the information about ATV safety and tips to help prevent these dangerous accidents. 

Common ATV Accident Injuries

Injuries sustained from ATV accidents are often serious and can be life-threatening. Common injuries include:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Broken collarbones
  • Broken arms and legs
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Head and neck injuries

Injury Prevention Tips

Wear the correct clothing and protective equipment.

  • Avoid shorts and tank tops, which leave a lot of skin vulnerable to cuts and scrapes. Instead, riders should wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, an over-the-ankle boots.
  • Safety equipment can also determine the severity of injury in an accident. Riders of all ages should always wear a helmet and eye protection. Plus, your state law might require this anyway.

Participate in ATV safety training courses.

  • These courses teach kids how to safely ride an ATV in different circumstances. Training teaches the necessary skills to handle the different obstacles that kids can encounter while riding off-road.
  • These courses can be taken through the ATV Safety Institute or by contacting the National 4-H Council, local ATV rider groups, state agencies, and some ATV manufactures.

Ride an ATV that’s right for you.

  • There are ATV models for children. These are smaller and usually include a mechanism to limit the ATV’s speed. Make sure your kids are riding ATVs made for their size and age. This helps ensure that they’ll be in better control of the vehicle and won’t reach dangerous speeds.
  • ATVs should include a label or sticker that recommends the appropriate age of rider for that model.

Never ride on the ATV with someone OR be a passenger.

  • If the ATV is manufactured for one person, having a passenger can interfere with the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. The corresponding fall, roll, or crash can cause serious or even fatal injury.
  • Even when an ATV is designed for more than one passenger, it’s still not a good idea for multiple kids to ride on it.

Never drive an ATV under the influence.

  • No vehicle, including an ATV, should be operated while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Riding an ATV often includes making quick judgment calls about whether to slow down, shift weight, and change course. Drugs and alcohol can interfere with a driver’s ability to make rapid, responsible decisions.

Only ride during the daylight hours.

  • Maneuvering over uneven terrain is difficult enough during the daytime. When it is light out, a driver is able to see an unexpected bump ahead and slow down or steer around it, but at night, the driver is less likely to see potential obstacles. This increases the chances of accidents.

Keep ATVs off of paved roads.

  • ATVs aren’t designed to be driven on paved roads — they’re meant for off-road or dirt-road terrain.
  • Driving ATVs on a paved surface can make them harder to control.
  • Paved roads also carry the risk of collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child ATV Safety

How should I choose the appropriate ATV for my child?

  • Children under ten years should never be on an ATV either as a driver or passenger. Young children lack the physical ability and mental skills to safely maneuver a motorized vehicle with multiple speeds and controls.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s Minimum Age Recommendation Warning Label. These labels will help you choose which ATV is appropriate for your child’s age for that particular model.
  • If your child is younger than 16 years of age, he or she should not drive a two-up vehicle. Driving an ATV with a passenger requires advanced handling skills. According to manufacturers, these ATVs should never be used to carry children under 12 or to carry more than one passenger.
  • Children under 16 years lack the developmental skills to safely drive adult ATVs. These ATVs – with engine sizes over 90 cubic centimeters (cc) – can go over 70 mph and weigh hundreds of pounds. Current industry and CPSC recommendations are for children and young teens to be restricted to ATVs with engine sizes of 90 cc or below.

What protection should my child wear while using an ATV?

  • New York State law requires all ATV drivers and passengers to wear USDOT-approved helmets and eye protection while using ATVs. Either a motorcycle helmet or motocross helmet are acceptable types of helmets to wear while using an ATV.
  • In addition, all ATV drivers and passengers should always wear gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirts or jackets, and over-the-ankle boots.