House Call: ATV safety

Nationally, there are 700 deaths and 100,000 injuries each year involving ATVs. In fact, West Virginia has recorded the most fatalities of any state on a per capita basis. Joining us this week is Dr. Kyle A. Hurst, Emergency Medicine Physician and Medical Director in the ER at UHC.

1). Why are the fatality and injury numbers so high?

There are many factors that contribute to these accidents; however, ATV’s are not built for roads and pose a particular safety risk, yet more places are making it legal and annual ATV-related deaths on public roads have increased nearly threefold over the past 25 years, as ATV sales have also accelerated.

2). So what types of injuries do you most often see as a result of ATV accidents?

Based on the most recent government data there are more than 101,000 injuries from ATV accidents. These most often involve the following in order of percentage of occurrence:

-Arms and hand injuries

-Head and neck injuries

-Legs and feet injuries

-Torso injuries

3). So what can an ATV rider do to ensure his or her safety?

· First, do not drive ATV’s on paved roads, as we indicated earlier.

· Take a hands-on safety training course.

· Do not allow a child under 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV

· Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride-as-a passenger

· Always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Most ATV fatalities are a result of not wearing a helmet.

· Do not use alcohol as it plays a prominent role in fatal crashes, as 39 percent of operators involved in a fatal crash were under the influence.

4). Where do riders most often ride their ATV’s?

These are in order of occurrence:

· Unfortunately, we see the most riders, 32% ride their ATV on paved surfaces. As a reminder this is where most ATV accidents occur. So please stay off paved roads with your ATV.

· 18% of riders, ride on unpaved roads.

· 13% of riders, ride in a field, pasture, farmland, or ranch

· 11% of riders, ride in the forest or woods

· 5% of riders, ride on deserts, sand, beaches