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Off Road Vehicles

Definition: Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are any three-or four-wheeled vehicle that has a motor and is designed for riding on unpaved surfaces. Examples of ORVs include All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, jet skis, and motor bikes.

Magnitude of the Problem: The size and speed of ORVs pose a heightened risk to youth and children.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • 107 children under the age of 16 died in 2007 as a result of ATV-related injuries, representing 20% of all ATV-related deaths.
    • 9% of these deaths occurred in children age 12 and younger.
  • An estimated 40,000 children under age 16 were injured in ATV-related incidents in 2007. This accounts for 27% of all ATV-related injuries.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • In 1997, 12,600 people were injured as a result of snowmobiles
    • 18% were children under 14 years of age
    • 48% were ages 15-24
  • 43% of pediatric snowmobile-related injuries occurred on private property where snowmobile use restrictions do not apply

Prevention: Some States have passed laws related to ATVs and youth, such as mandating the use of safety equipment; safety education courses; and minimum operator age requirements. Other prevention strategies include educating parents and youth about the skills needed to operate an ATV, the importance of supervision based on developmental skill level, personal protective equipment, having an ATV that is appropriate to the size of the operator, and the dangers of having passengers on ATVs.

Few States have enacted snowmobile-related age restrictions or helmet laws. Children as young as 8 years old may legally operate a snowmobile in some States. Age restrictions, graduated licensing, and safety education courses would also be an appropriate intervention to preventing snowmobile related injuries and fatalities in children and youth.

Water safety courses can be useful for teaching safety skills for jet skiers and preventing injury.