According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2011 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, Nebraska ranked 36th for reported ATV deaths from 1982-2007; with 86 total deaths or an average of 5 deaths per year. Since 2007, the state has averaged 7.5 deaths per year for 30 ATV related fatalities. This upward trend is concerning.
Through its ATV Safety Training Program, the Nebraska Safety Center hopes to reverse the upward trend in ATV fatalities through basic safety training for youth and adult riders. According to Dennis Holtz, CDL/AG Safety Pillar Manager, “As ATV use continues to rise in popularity both in the work place and as a recreation vehicle, safety education is important for all riders, especially youth in reducing fatalities.” Insurance costs may be less for riders that have taken an ATV safety course. Contact your insurance provider to see if this would apply to you.
The Nebraska Safety Center is committed to providing affordable ATV safety training for all ages. Classes are being scheduled for this summer and dates, times, and locations will be announced soon.
When riding an ATV remember these GOLDEN RULES:
- Always wear protective gear – especially a helmet – when riding ATVs. Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of these injuries. Select a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Wear over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against cuts, abrasions, and other injuries from rocks, trees, and other debris.
- Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger. ATVs are designed for interactive riding – drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
- Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles also can be deadly. According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, since 2004, 26 fatalities have occurred on public roadways.
- Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. Nationwide, children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding youth ATVs.
- Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, two essential skills for safe ATV use.
- Take a hands-on safety-training course. Formal training teaches drivers how to control ATVs in typical situations. Drivers with formal, hands-on ATV training have a lower injury risk than drivers with no formal training.