ATV Safety Picture Only Gets Bleaker: Injuries and Risks Up Significantly Concludes Comprehensive Government Assessment

Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America, (202) 939-1012
Scott Kovarovics, Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, (202) 429-2696
Sean Smith, Bluewater Network, (415) 544-0790 ext. 19
February 5, 2003

Washington, DC - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a new report yesterday that provides additional evidence of the growing all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety problem. By virtually every measure, the number of ATV-related injuries and risk of injury to riders increased significantly between 1997 and 2001, with children under 16 continuing to suffer disproportionately. This report represents the first comprehensive assessment of this problem by the agency since 1997.

"Last summer we filed a petition with CPSC urging it to ban the sale of adult-size ATVs for use by children under 16 years old," stated Rachel Weintraub, Assistant General Counsel at Consumer Federation of America. "CPSC's own data provides even more evidence for the need for the Agency to act to prevent the increasing number of injuries from all-terrain vehicles," said Weintraub.

"This new analysis proves once again that speed and power trump safety when it comes to ATVs," said Scott Kovarovics, Director of the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition. "Back in 1998, the ATV industry was given a chance to improve safety voluntarily. These findings demonstrate that self-regulation is a failure, and must be replaced by independent safety initiatives from states and CPSC."

In assessing trends between 1997 and 2001, the Commission concludes:

  • The number of ATV-related injuries requiring emergency room treatment increased by 104 percent to 111,700.
  • Injuries caused by bigger and faster ATVs, those with engines greater than 400 cc, increased by 567 percent to 24,437. This increase is more than twice as great as the increase in the number of these ATVs in use during this period.
  • Injuries per 1,000 ATVs jumped 46 percent. Injuries per 1,000 ATVs with engines bigger than 400 cc increased 120 percent. These findings are particularly important because they demonstrate that rising injuries are not solely explained by rising sales.
  • The number of injuries suffered by children under 16 increased nearly 57 percent to 33,071 while their share of the riding population grew by 9 percent.
  • Children under 16 continue to suffer significantly more injuries than older riders. Children suffered nearly twice as many injuries as older riders when analyzed based on a fixed number of ATVs.

View the full CPSC report at:

"Just when one thought the safety record of all terrain vehicles couldn't get any worse, the CPSC data clearly shows that accident rates over the past couple of years has hit new heights," said Sean Smith, Public Lands Director for Bluewater Network. "It is unforgivable that the industry continues to aggressively promote these machines to children and young adults when they clearly know that these groups suffer a disproportionate number of ATV injuries and deaths."

In August 2002, the Consumer Federation of America, Natural Trails and Waters Coalition and Bluewater Network joined together with doctors to release a comprehensive report documenting a growing ATV safety problem. The report - All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Crisis: America's Children At Risk - highlights how children under 16 suffer a disproportionate share of ATV-related injuries and deaths. View a copy of the full report at: or

In addition to releasing the report, nine medical, consumer and conservation groups also filed a petition with CPSC requesting that it prohibit the sale of adult-size four-wheel ATVs for use by children under 16 years old. CPSC agreed to solicit public comment on the petition through March 17, 2003. The petition was submitted by: Consumer Federation of America, Bluewater Network, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, Center for Injury Research and Policy, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Kids in Danger, and the Danny Foundation.

Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups, with a combined membership of more than 50 million people. CFA was founded in 1968 to advance the consumers' interest through advocacy and education.

The Natural Trails and Waters Coalition includes conservation, recreation and other groups working to protect and restore all public lands and waters from the severe damage caused by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, jet skis and all other off-road vehicles.

Bluewater Network's mission is to champion innovative solutions and inspire individuals to protect the earth's finite and vulnerable ecosystems. Bluewater Network promotes critical policy changes in government and industry to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and eradicate other root causes of air and water pollution, global warming, and habitat destruction