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All-terrain vehicles on the road: a serious traffic safety concern
  1. C Jennissen1,
  2. C Buresh1,
  3. K Harland1,2,
  4. D Ellis1,
  5. G Denning1
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
  2. 2Injury Prevention Research Center, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA


    Background On-road all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes are frequent despite most US states having laws restricting road use.

    Aims/Objectives/Purpose To determine the demographics, and the mechanisms and outcomes of injuries of on-road versus off-road ATV crashes.

    Methods Data from our Iowa ATV injury surveillance database (2002–2009) was derived and statistically analysed.

    Results/Outcomes 976 records were studied, with 38% of injured individuals from on-road crashes. Demographics were similar at each location. Females and youths under 16 were over four times more likely to be passengers (p<0.0001 for each). As compared to off-road crash victims, on-road victims were approximately ten times more likely to be involved in a vehicle-vehicle collision (p<0.001), three times more likely to have a severe brain injury with a GCS≤8 (p<0.001), and twice as likely to have suffered a major trauma with an ISS>15 (p<0.001). Adult operators in on-road crashes were also twice as likely to test positive for alcohol as those off-road (p<0.05). Helmet use significantly reduced the odds of sustaining a brain injury, and on-road victims were only half as likely to be protected by helmets (p<0.01).

    Significance/Contribution to the Field On-road crashes were significantly more likely to involve collision with another vehicle, suggesting on-road ATVs represent a traffic safety concern. Even controlling for helmet use, on-road crash victims suffered more severe injuries than those off-road. Our data reinforces the importance of laws restricting ATV road use and their enforcement, and the need to increase ATV user education about the dangers of on-road riding.

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