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Optimising seat design for all-terrain vehicle injury prevention: wide variability illustrates need for evidence-based standardisation


Background All-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths and injuries are a growing public health concern, particularly in rural and suburban communities. More engineering approaches that address vehicle safety and promote injury prevention are critically needed.

Objectives Our study was designed to determine the variability in seat characteristics among 2012 model-year, adult-size ATVs.

Methods Measurements of 67 models were performed using an image-based method. Seat characteristics were compared by manufacturer and by ATV type (sport vs utility).

Results There were significant differences in seat length and seat placement among manufacturers and between sport and utility ATVs. Seat lengths ranged from 19.8 to 37.0 inches, with sport models significantly longer than utility models. Longer seats resulted from the back of the seat extending further beyond the rear axle and/or the seat front extending closer to the handle grips. Seat front to handle grip distances ranged from 3.25 to 16.5 inches. Combined data showed a strong inverse correlation between seat length and the distance from the seat front to the handle grips, but no significant correlation with wheelbase or engine size.

Conclusions We found wide variability in seat length and placement for adult-size ATVs. However, existing seat specifications were identified that may be a good starting point for improved seat design. Optimal design would allow for safe operation while reducing the likelihood of multiple riders and use by underaged operators, both major risk factors for ATV-related deaths and injuries. Ultimately, regulations may be needed to ensure standardised seat design is incorporated throughout the ATV industry.

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