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Injuries from ATV accidents cost $3.24 billion annually

ATV.jpg

As long as there have been motorized vehicles, there have been competing breeds of outdoor recreationalists: those who tread lightly and those who tread on four-wheelers.

The all-terrain vehicle, it seems, is a point of eternal contention (.pdf). It pollutes, disrupts soil and vegetation, makes loud noisesand is extremely fun to drive, for which reason efforts to curb ATV use haven't been especially effective.

Time for a different line of reasoning? New figures compiled by University of Utah neurosurgeons show that injuries sustained in ATV accidents cost $3.24 billion annually. Other points of note from the study:

  • More than a million emergency room visits and 495 deaths were related to ATV accidents in 2001, the last year considered in the study.
  • Rollovers were the most common cause of the accidents.
  • Children and youths composed 42 percent of the head and spine traumas tallied.

Acocording to study author Joel MacDonald, MD:

Studies show that the majority of children involved in ATV accidents are riding adult-sized vehicles Children are at increased risk because of their underdeveloped motor coordination and physical strength, less experience operating motor vehicles, poorer judgment, their risk-taking behavior, and lack of instruction.

MacDonald sees ATV use as a public health issue: As they don't seem to be going away, he says, it's time to "think seriously about [instituting] reasonable protections."

Photo by Riverbanksoutdoorstore

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