ATVs are the focus of National Farm Safety and Health Week

Wednesday, September 22, 2020 1:58 PM CDT

This years™ safety campaign targets parents of adolescent ATV operators.

The Center for Agriculture Safety wants parents to be reminded of the following:
• ATVs roll over easily;
• ATVs are not meant for passengers;
• ATVs can weigh up to 800 pounds; and
• Uneven terrain or unforeseen obstacles can easily cause an ATV to roll over.

In addition, passengers can alter the weight distribution on an ATV and make them even more likely to become unstable and roll over. In the event of a roll over, it would be practically impossible for the operator to lift an 800 pound machine off of their body.

We know ATVs are a way of life for farmers and other land owners. But they pose a significant hazard to children, said Regina Fisher, agricultural youth safety specialist at the National Children's™ Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. This awareness campaign is designed to help parents make informed decisions.

Children and young adolescents lack the knowledge, physical size and strength, cognitive and motor skills to operate an ATV safely, Fisher said.

For more information about ATV safety visit the Center for Agriculture Safety website at


Concerned Families for ATV Safety has obtained copies of two documents that the ATV manufacturer, Yamaha has been fighting a court battle to keep secret. This document shows that Yamaha designed the Rhino to avoid regulation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA). Yamaha's own documents show that it includes warnings against driving the Rhino on the road because this helps it avoid regulation by the NHTSA - not because they're concerned about the safety of Rhino riders. Finally, the second document shows that in 2000, Yamaha designed the Rhino with safety features such as a rear differential, passenger hand-hold and a full doors - but never included them in the final vehicle.

Please distribute these documents to anyone who might be interested, including your Senators and Congressmen. Please click here to find contact information for your Senators and here for your Congressman.

ATVs are important to many lifestyles, both for recreation and work.  However, pediatricians and leading medical groups say young children haven’t developed the strength, coordination or judgment needed to safely handle these powerful machines.

Nationwide, ATVs seriously injure and kill over 40,000 of children under age 16 every year. The following facts highlight a growing problem and the very real costs to families and society at large, and underscore the need to enact common sense safety standards that keep children under age 16 from driving these powerful vehicles.

America’s Doctors Believe ATVs Too Dangerous for Children Under 16

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOP) have adopted formal policies recommending that children under age 16 not drive ATVs.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Laws should prohibit the use of ATVs, on- or off-road, by children and adolescents younger than 16 years. An automobile driver’s license, and preferably some additional certification in ATV use, should be required to operate an ATV. The safe use of ATVs requires the same or greater skill, judgment, and experience as needed to operate an automobile.”(AAP, Policy Statement, All-Terrain Vehicle Injury Prevention: Two-, Three-, and Four-Wheeled Unlicensed Motor Vehicles, 2000)

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics also describes child ATV use as “the perfect recipe for tragedy.” (AAP press release, July 13, 2020)

  • The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains: “In light of statistics that show an inordinate number of injuries and deaths resulting from the use of ATVs, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons considers ATVs to be a significant public health risk. . . The minimum age of 16 for operating an ATV on or off the road should be enforced. Children under the age of 12 generally possess neither the body size and strength, nor the motor skills and coordination necessary for the safe handling of an ATV. Children under age 16 generally have not yet developed the perceptual abilities or the judgment required for the safe use of highly powered vehicles.”(emphasis in original) (AAOS, Position Statement, All-Terrain Vehicles, 1992). Click here to see an AAOS advertisement about the tremendous dangers ATVs pose to riders.


  • Over the past decade, the number of children killed in off-road vehicle accidents increased by 88%. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 and 1995 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)
    • 120 children died in off-road vehicle accidents in 2005 compared to 64 in 1995. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)

  • Between 1995 and 2005, ATVs killed at least 1,218 children under age 16.  These children account for 27 percent of all ATV-related deaths during this period. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)

Serious Injuries

  • Over the past decade, the number of children hospitalized increased by 109%. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)
    • More than 44,000 children were hospitalized due to accidents on ATVs in 2005 compared to 19,300 in 1995. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)

  • Children under 16 accounted for 30% of all off-road vehicle injuries in 2005. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries)

  • Not surprisingly, the injury RISK for children drivers (7.6) is much higher than for drivers over the age of 16 (5.1). (Fiscal Year 2005 CPSC Briefing Package, pg. 13)

  • The vast majority of children who were injured (63%) were driving at the time of the accident. 37% of those injured were passengers. (Fiscal Year 2005 CPSC Briefing Package, pg. 2)

ATV Injuries More Severe than Other Recreational Activities

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) concludes that nine percent of injuries children receive from ATVs result in hospitalization compared to two percent of injuries caused by the 15,000 other consumer products over which the Commission has jurisdiction. (Fiscal Year 2005 CPSC Briefing Package pg. 70)

  • With respect to other recreational activities and many common sports, ATV driving has the highest risk of hospitalization of 33 sports and activities in which children routinely participate, including riding a bike, snowboarding, skateboarding, wrestling, basketball and scooter riding.  The risk of serious injury associated with driving ATVs is 61 percent greater than the activity with the next highest risk (football). (Fiscal Year 2005 CPSC Briefing Package pg. 158-9)

Costs to Society

  • Researchers say there were about 1,117,000 emergency room visits and 495 deaths due to ATV injuries nationwide in 2001, increases of 211 percent and 159 percent respectively from 1993. They estimate national costs of ATV-associated injuries are $3.24 billion a year. . (Neurosurgery, October 2011 - the official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.)

  • Child ATV deaths and associated financial costs increased from $493 million in 1999 to $723 million in 2003 (Helmkamp, JC And Lawrence, BA. The Economic Burden Of All-Terrain Vehicle-Related Pediatric Deaths In The United States. Pediatrics, Vol 119 No 1 January 2020, Ppg 223-225.)

ATV Industry’s Role

  • The off-road vehicle industry supports a ban on children under age 16 using personal watercrafts, such jet skis, and even help state legislatures draft bills to that effect. Yet, the industry not only opposes a ban on children riding ATVs but also aggressively markets these powerful vehicles to child riders.

  • Voluntary standards agreed to by the industry have not worked. According to Dr. Jim Helmlkamp of the West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center: “It seems that little has changed in the past 20 years despite continuous, but relatively benign, national efforts to improve ATV safety through a federal decree, voluntary agreements between manufacturers and distributors, safety alerts, public hearings, and a recent top-to-bottom CPSC review of all existing ATV safety standards.”


© 2007 Concerned Families for ATV Safety. All Rights Reserved
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