ATVs are Dangerous to Children: Must be Designed Safer

Number of All-Terrain Vehicle Deaths Decline and Injuries Suffered by Children Increase-- Remain Too High

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2013) – According to data released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, child deaths have decreased slightly and serious injuries caused by all-terrain vehicles appear to have increased 2011.  Tragically, at least 57 children lost their lives and 29,000 were injured seriously enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency department.

“ATVs cause hundreds of deaths and over a hundred thousand injuries a year. ATVs cause more deaths and injuries than almost any other product under CPSC’s jurisdiction,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and Senior Counsel for Consumer Federation of America.  “ATVs must be designed safer to substantially reduce these tragic incidents.”

“As these most recent data demonstrate, ATVs are dangerous to children,” said Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns all parents that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV.”

The CPSC released its 2011 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries on March 4, 2013.  Major findings include:

  • Estimates of serious injuries requiring emergency room treatment among people of all ages decreased from 115,000 in 2010 to 107,500 in 2011.
  • The 2011 emergency department-treated injury estimate for all ages reflects a decrease of 6.5 percent over the 2010 estimate that is not statistically significant.
  • The estimated number of ATV-related fatalities for all ages decreased from 765 in 2009 to 726 in 2010.  The agency notes, however, that the 2010 data is not considered complete.
  • In 2011, ATVs killed at least 57 children younger than 16, accounting for 17 percent of fatalities. Forty seven percent of children killed were younger than 12 years old.
  • Children under 16 suffered an estimated 29,000 serious injuries in 2011, an increase from 28,300 serious injuries in 2010. This represents 27 percent of all injuries.  In 2010, serious injuries to children made up 25 percent of all injuries.
  • The 2011 emergency department-treated injury estimate for children younger than 16 years of age represents a 2.5% increase over the 2010 estimate, although this is not a statistically significant increase.

It is important to note that there is always a lag with death reports making their way to the CPSC and therefore the 2009 statistics should not be considered complete.  For example, when child death statistics for the year 2006 were first reported in 2007, the number stood at 111; since that time, additional data collection has increased that number to 143.

In 2006, consumer groups filed a petition with the CPSC calling for the CPSC to ban the sale of adult-size ATVs for use by children.  While the agency under the leadership of Chairman Hal Stratton denied the petition, the CPSC began a rulemaking process to create new ATV safety standards.  CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum has directed staff to follow the mandate of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and promulgate new federal safety rules.  On August 12, 2011, Congress passed H.R. 2715 which amended the CPSIA and which directed the CPSC to complete the ATV rulemaking within a year of enactment. The rule has not yet been completed.

Both Consumer Federation of America and AAP continue to call upon the agency to reject the manufacture of a transitional, “youth model” ATV for 14- to 16-year-olds capable of traveling at speeds up to 38 miles per hour.

The CPSC, industry, and many consumer advocates recommend that children ages 12 through 15 not ride ATVs with engines larger than 90 cc’s. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under age 16 ride an ATV of any size.

Contact:

Rachel Weintraub, CFA (202) 387-6121

Jamie Poslosky, AAP (202) 724-3308


The Consumer Federation of America is an association of nearly 300 nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. www.consumerfed.org

American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. www.aap.org