SALT LAKE CITY, July 7 (UPI) — Despite legislative and manufacturer efforts to improve all-terrain vehicle safety, injuries have soared and cost $3.24 billion annually, U.S. researchers said.
Neurosurgeons Dr. Joel MacDonald and Dr. Michael Finn, both of the University of Utah, found in 2001 there were approximately 1,117,000 emergency room visits and 495 deaths due to ATV injuries nationwide, a 211 percent increase in injuries and an increase of 159 percent in deaths from 1993.
The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Neurosurgery, found injuries increased in all age groups, but children and teens were disproportionately affected and accounted for 42 percent of the head and spine traumas in the study.
“Studies show that the majority of children involved in ATV accidents are riding adult-sized vehicles,” MacDonald said in a statement.
“Children are at increased risk because of their underdeveloped motor coordination and physical strength, less experience operating motor vehicles, poorer judgment, their risk-taking behavior and lack of instruction.”
Children may be at additional risk of ATM rollovers — safe operation of an ATV requires leaning one’s body into turns to shift the center of gravity to the inside of the turn — because they have less weight and strength to forcefully lean the vehicle into a turn, especially when operating an adult-sized vehicle,” MacDonald added.
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