The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riders to take precautions to stay safe this holiday weekend and riding season. For the 4-day period surrounding the 2009 Memorial Day holiday, CPSC is aware of 27 fatalities, with two under the age of 16, averaging almost seven deaths a day.
As the prime ATV riding season kicks into gear, so does the increase in deaths. Just last month, CPSC staff was aware through media reports of at least 40 fatalities between April 1st and April 30th, including 12 involving children younger than 16 years of age.
CPSC data indicates that ATV-related deaths jump on average 30 percent from March to April for children younger than 16 years of age. Adult deaths increase 88 percent on average for the same time-frame. During 2003-2005, ATV-related deaths rose each month during the spring and into the summer, peaking in July, when 23 children and 76 adults were killed in ATV-related incidents on average.
"If springtime deaths and injuries are an indication of what's to come, we urge all ATV riders, young and old, to take all necessary safety precautions," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Far too many people are losing their lives and sustaining life-threatening injuries, which in many cases are preventable. CPSC is working diligently to ensure that the ATVs on the market meet mandatory standards and to promote safe riding practices."
In April 2009, as a part of the requirements for a CPSC approved action plan for ATV manufacturers and distributors, it became mandatory for these companies to offer free, hands-on training through their dealers to first-time purchasers and age appropriate members of their immediate families within a reasonable time from purchase.
Moreover, as another element of approving ATV action plans CPSC requires companies to also offer first-time purchasers an incentive valued at $100 for taking the hands-on training offered by the ATV Safety Institute (ASI). ASI also offers online training for experienced ATV riders.
Many ATV-related deaths and injuries are preventable. CPSC encourages all ATV riders, young and old, to make this riding season safer by following the basic rules of the trail:
Take a hands-on safety training course
Always wear protective gear - especially a helmet - when riding ATVs
Do not ride or drive a single-rider ATV with a passenger or ride as a passenger
Do not drive ATVs on paved roads
Do not permit children younger than 16 to drive or ride adult ATVs. Always choose an age-appropriate ATV for your child
Recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), also known as side-by-sides, have grown in popularity in recent years, and CPSC wants riders and passengers to know that they are different from ATVs. Unlike ATVs, ROVs have a steering wheel, bench or bucket seats, seatbelts, foot controls and a roll cage. They, too, are associated with a number of fatalities and injuries every year.
Keep safety first when using both off road vehicle types. To learn more, visit ATVSafety.gov. Please download our ATV Safety PSAs at www.atvsafety.gov/pr.html
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054.