A report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC 2008 Annual Report of ATV Deaths and Injuries") shows a continuation of the decline in fatalities and injuries associated with all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use. According to the CPSC, total ATV-related injuries in 2008 decreased 10 percent from 2007, with injuries to children under 16 declining six percent.
CPSC also reported that the risk of injury per 10,000 four-wheel ATVs in use declined by 15 percent from 2007 to 2008. This is the seventh straight year that injury risk for ATV riders has decreased, and it is now lower than at any time since CPSC began calculating this injury risk in 1985. Four-wheel ATVs have become increasingly popular with an increase of more than 300% since 1998 in the number of vehicles in use to over 10 million.
"The CPSC report again shows that the commitment of the member companies of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) to rider education, parental supervision, and state legislation is working," said Paul Vitrano, executive vice president, SVIA. "Since 1984, the major manufacturers and distributors of ATVs in the United States have worked closely with the CPSC to implement ongoing safety initiatives."
In 2009, the industry's voluntary ANSI/SVIA standards were made mandatory as a result of federal legislation. The mandatory standards require all ATV manufacturers and distributors, regardless of where the product is manufactured (imported or U.S.), to adhere to the same safety standards and training programs established and followed by the SVIA member companies for more than two decades. This includes newer companies in the U.S. market that had previously elected not to participate in safety programs developed by established manufacturers and in some cases targeted inappropriate models to youth riders. Under the legislation, all ATV manufacturers now must certify that their products conform to the mandatory standards, and file safety action plans with the CPSC.
SVIA, however, remains concerned that the effective ban on the sale of youth model ATVs resulting from the lead content provisions contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will likely result in children under 12 years of age riding the more accessible larger and faster adult-size vehicles, creating - in the CPSC's own words - a "more serious and immediate risk of injury or death" than any risk from lead exposure.
"CPSC studies have found that approximately 90 percent of injuries to children under 16 occur on adult-sized ATVs," said Vitrano. "We strongly encourage the CPSC and Congress to end the ban on the sale of youth model ATVs and motorcycles."
The ATV industry is committed to the safety of its customers and will continue to promote and enhance its multi-tiered efforts to increase awareness of the proper operation and use of ATVs. Unfortunately, more than 92% of ATV-related fatalities involve one or more behaviors that the industry strongly and visibly warns against in its rider education programs, in all its literature, and on the vehicles themselves.
To that end we urge all ATV enthusiasts and their families to follow the Golden Rules:
1. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
2. Never ride on public roads -- another vehicle could hit you.
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle.
5. Ride an ATV that's right for your age.
6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
8. Take an ATV RiderCourse; call toll-free at 800.887.2887, or take the free E-Course at www.atvsafety.org