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Make Sure Everyone Understands ATV Safety Rules As Spring Arrives

Make Sure Everyone Understands ATV Safety Rules As Spring Arrives
ATV deaths and injuries for recreational use on the rise.

The good news about all-terrain utility vehicles is that no one died in a farm work-related injury due to ATV involvement in 2010. The bad news is that ATVs are involved in a rapidly increasing number of accidents that lead to death or injury in recreational situations.

This data was reported by Bill Field and his staff. Field, the Purdue University farm safety specialist, and his staff track deaths related to agriculture each year. They rely on clipping services, newspaper reports and word of mouth to collect information on as many farm accidents as possible, especially those which involve fatalities.

Make Sure Everyone Understands ATV Safety Rules As Spring Arrives

In 2007 ASTVs were tied to three farm-work related deaths. That's the highest ever recorded in a single year in Indiana for ATV-related deaths, Field says. Work-related ATV accidents often involve dropping the vehicle into a hole or going off a bank and flipping the vehicle, when the operator obviously thought the vehicle was still on stable ground. Judgment of conditions is a big factor in these incidents.

Just because there were no documented deaths in 2010 related to ATVs in farm related work doesn't mean there weren't any ATV farm-related accidents, Field notes. While 23 deaths were recorded in 2010, the last year for which Purdue currently has full reporting data, there were more than 6,770 non-fatal treatable injuries. Some of these resulted in permanent injuries, including spinal cord injuries and amputations. These injuries, based on 2009 data, cost an estimated $1,200 per event.

Data isn't kept on how many of these incidents might have involved ASTVs, which did results in treatable injuries. 4-H programs are offered to teach ASTV safety, especially to youth that have recreational use in mind. If you're going to let younger people drive ASTVs on the farm, make sure they understand the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle before you turn them loose on their own.
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