Volume 2012, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094



All terrain vehicle (ATV) use is increasing at a rapid pace in settings without proper safety regulations.

Aim: To define injury patterns, impairments, and outcomes among patients injured in ATV crashes; to determine prevalence of protective equipment use; and to define the potential role of injury prevention in addressing the problem.

Methods: During a recent 10 month period, 56 patients were reported as injured in ATV crashes seriously enough to require admission and were prospectively entered into a study-specific database. Patient demographics, site of crash, prior ATV experience, and use of safety equipment were recorded. Injuries were characterized by body system and tabulated. Outcomes, including deaths and impairments, were defined.

Results: There were 47 males (84%) and 9 females (16%). Most injuries occurred in patients older than 18 years, but 20% occurred in children less than 14 years of age. Helmet use was confirmed in 12%. Three patients died (5% mortality). Significant disability occurred in 19 patients (34%) and was permanent in 4 (7%). Head, face and musculoskeletal injuries were most common.

Conclusions: ATV crashes can cause serious injuries including death and permanent disability. The lack of awareness of the injury potential for this popular recreational activity has escalated the risk of injury, and the absence of safety programs and regulations has further aggravated the problem. Based on these data, a public education program, compulsory use of helmets and other protective clothing, and penalties for non-compliance should be implemented. Interventions at recreation sites and the point of ATV sale may be most beneficial.


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