CPSC Warns Memorial Day Weekend Among the Deadliest Holidays for ATV Riders

History has shown that as temperatures go up, and spring turns to summer, the reported number of ATV-related incidents and deaths also increases
May 27, 2011
Release Number: 11-233

WASHINGTON, D.C. --The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders to take steps to stay safe this holiday weekend. CPSC staff is aware of 28 fatalities that occurred during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2010. That is an average of seven deaths a day. Five victims were under the age of 16.

History has shown that as temperatures go up, and spring turns to summer, the reported number of ATV-related incidents and deaths also increases. Reported incidents compiled by CPSC for 2004 to 2006, show that ATV-related deaths of children younger than 16 years of age jumped more than 65 percent on average from March to April in each of those years. Reported adult deaths increased an average of 85 percent for the same time period. During 2004 to 2006, reported ATV-related deaths peaked in July, when an average of 22 children and 85 adults were killed in ATV-related incidents.

News reports between March 1 and May 23 this year indicate that as many as 62 people may have died in ATV-related incidents. Six of these deaths reportedly involved children younger than 16.

Additionally, two recent ATV-related incidents may have claimed the lives of three teenagers, according to news stories from just last week:

- Two teenage boys reportedly were killed and another seriously injured in an ATV-related crash near Socorro, Texas, on May 16. According to news reports, none of the teens was wearing a helmet.

- A 16-year-old boy reportedly died on May 18 in Havre de Grace, Md., after losing control of and being thrown from the ATV he was driving.

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 on a single-rider ATV as a passenger or carry a passenger if you drive one.

- 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.

“Far too many people are losing their lives or suffering life-threatening injuries, which in many cases are preventable,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “CPSC is working diligently to promote safe riding practices and to ensure that the ATVs on the market meet mandatory standards.”

Additionally, recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), also known as side-by-sides, have grown in popularity in recent years. Unlike ATVs, ROVs have a steering wheel, bench or bucket seats, seatbelts, foot controls and a rollover protective structure (ROPS). However, every year, they are also associated with a number of fatalities and injuries. Rollovers have caused severe injuries and death, even on flat, open areas.

CPSC encourages ROV riders and passengers to follow these guidelines from CPSC and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA):

- Always fasten seat belts before moving the vehicle.

- Never transport passengers who cannot place both feet on the floorboard with their backs against the seat.

- Never carry more passengers than there are seat belts and never carry passengers in cargo beds.

- Never drive an ROV unless you have a valid driver’s license.

- Wear a helmet and other protective gear; ensure that your passengers wear theirs.

- Avoid paved surfaces; ROVs are designed to be operated off-road.

- Drive only in designated areas, at a safe speed, and use care when turning and crossing slopes.

- Keep all parts of your body inside the ROV.

- Never drive or ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

- Know your vehicle before you drive; read the operator’s manual and labels.

- Remember: ROVs are not toys.

Always keep safety first when using ATVs or ROVs. To learn more, visit ATVSafety.gov