The federal government released data in December 2006 on ATV injuries and deaths – based on those numbers; it appears that ATVs are as dangerous as ever. For 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 767 deaths and 136,700 injuries involving ATVs – and 30% of those injuries involved children younger than 16.
Although the injury rate for children represents a 10% drop from 2004 figures, the CPSC report said the decrease was not statistically significant. But, the 2005 estimate was significant when compared to 2001 figures because injuries have grown by 18%, the report said. Historically children under 16 have accounted for about 36% of total estimated injuries, but the recent drop to 30% may reflect increased ATV use by other age groups. In fact, the CPSC report says the age group that experienced the largest increase in injuries was the 45-54 year-old group, with a 24% rise between 2004 and 2005.
The estimated risk of death per 10,000 4-wheel ATVs in use remains the same as in 2001: 1.1. Even so, the report notes, the injury estimates are high. That’s why consumer advocates, including Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, continue to press the CPSC to make ATVs safer. In September, the agency launched an educational campaign, including a new Website, in the hopes that increased information will reduce risk-taking behavior. But these latest numbers only show that the government needs to do far more than education.
The CPSC should ban all ATVs designed for children.
The agency should also evaluate the dynamics of ATV crashes, develop comprehensive mandatory safety standards, and require the vehicles to be redesigned to improve safety, especially to prevent rollovers. And it’s not just the CPSC that should act. Consumers Union believes states should ban ATV use on paved roads, implement educational and training campaigns, create and enforce licensing requirements, and require appropriate protective gear, including helmets, to operate ATVs. Of course, Congress needs to step in and give states the funds to do all this.
Source: Consumer Reports
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