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CPSC Urges All-Terrain Vehicle Enthusiasts to Follow Safety Tips and Stay Off Roads; Data Show Children Face Highest Risk of Injury

Release Date: August 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Summer is in full swing, and many people are looking for outdoor alternatives to pool outings or amusement park trips, which have been postponed due to COVID-19.  For some, this means joining all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-roading enthusiasts for a new adventure.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all consumers using ATVs to understand the risks and necessary safety measures of ATVs before riding them. 

“While CPSC understands the draw of riding an ATV, we cannot stress enough that these vehicles are not toys,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler.  “Riders younger than 16 should drive only age-appropriate ATVs and all riders should keep ATVs off paved roads where they are more difficult to control and are at risk of collisions with on-road vehicles.  We know people are looking for fun activities this summer, but ATV riders need to take safety seriously.” 


CPSC’s 2018 annual ATV report on deaths and injuries finds there were 81,800 ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries reported in 2018.  More than a quarter of those injuries were sustained by children under 16 years old, the highest of any age group.  ATVs become more dangerous when children drive adult-sized vehicles, or when passengers ride on ATVs built for only one rider.


The report includes ATV fatality data from 1982-2016, which is the most recent year when CPSC reporting is considered complete.  In 2016 alone, there were 591 reported ATV-related fatalities.  Children under 16 years old accounted for 65 of the fatalities in 2016, and nearly half of these children were under 12 years of age.  In addition, there were more than 15,700 total fatalities since 1982, and that number could continue to rise with additional reporting.


A CPSC Public Service Announcement shows the dangers of using ATVs on paved roads intended for vehicles.  Even if a locality allows people to drive off-road vehicles on paved public roads, ATVs are not designed for that purpose.  ATVs can be unwieldy on paved surfaces, and the risk of collision with a car, truck, or other vehicle is significantly higher, increasing a rider’s chances of injury or death. 

ATV Safety Tips

If you are going to ride an ATV, CPSC recommends key safety tips to follow:

  • Get hands-on training from a qualified instructor, e.g., in an ATV Safety Institute (ASI) course.

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

  • Never ride with more passengers than there are seats.  Most ATVs are designed for one rider.

  • Riders younger than 16 should only drive age-appropriate youth model ATVs, and never adult ATVs.

  • Off-road vehicles are designed to be driven only on off-road terrain, not paved surfaces.

  • Never ride on public roads except to cross where permitted by law.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or while driving an ATV, because alcohol can impair judgment and response time.

To learn more about data on ATV injuries and deaths by state, visit

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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