ATV Safety Concerns

Consumer safety groups concerned about growing danger of atv accidents resulting in serious injury and death

The issue of ATV safety has become a growing concern nationwide. In November 2007, Consumer Reports published findings of a five-year study comparing the prevalence of ATV and bicycle crashes from 2000-2004, noting that “hospitalizations from ATV incidents are growing at a markedly higher rate than those caused by bicycle injures even though there are far more bicycle owners.”  The study was funded by the Concerned Families for ATV Safety and the Arabella Legacy Fund, a private charitable organization that also supports the Responsible Trails Alliance.

In 2005, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) pertaining to ATVs. The ANPR was the first step in a broad and comprehensive review of all existing and potential ATV safety rules and regulations. A Briefing Package resulting from the ATV Safety Review was presented to the Commission by CPSC staff in May 2006.

Key recommendations include the proposal, under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), a consumer product safety standard for ATVs intended for use by adults and a ban on three-wheeled ATVS intended for use by adults. The staff also recommends that the Commission propose, under authority of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), a standard for ATVs intended for use by youths. This would result in a ban on youth ATVs that do not comply with the standard, including all three-wheeled youth ATVs. Additionally, CPSC staff recommends that the Commission approve a web site devoted to safety of ATVs, and related information.

Results of the ATV study and recommendations are still under review by the CPSC, with Commissioner Thomas Moore sending follow-up questions to the ATV Safety Review committee in June 2006 and receiving response in July 2006. These documents are available at

Dec. 23, 2007, The Washington Post published a story about Robin Ingle’s experience in ATV research at the CPSCFrom 1998-2006, Ingle served as a statistician in the agency’s Directorate for Epidemiology. Ingle says that one of her first projects was to generate statistics on injuries and deaths associated with all-terrain vehicles. Her research was included in the CPSC’s January 2005 report.

Ingle says, “In the 1990s, the [ATV] industry had been bound by strict regulatory agreements with CPSC, but they had expired in 1998. Since then, the deaths and injuries have skyrocketed: In 1999, an estimated 536 people died on ATVs. By 2004 that number had climbed to 767. If current trends continue, the number of ATV deaths will soon exceed 900. In 2005, U.S. emergency rooms treated an estimated 136,700 ATV-related injuries. Last year they treated even more. A quarter to a third of the dead and injured were children.” (