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Surgeons’ Group Says ATVs More Likely to Kill than Motorcycles

By Jim Greene

on November 01, 2010

Although people may feel safer on four wheels than on two, a national doctors’ group says that, in off-road rollover accidents, victims riding all-terrain vehicles are more likely to be killed than those riding motorcycles.

The American College of Surgeons says ATV rollover victims are 50 percent more likely to die than motorcycle accident victims with the same injuries. In a study presented at its recent annual meeting, the ACS also said ATV rollover victims are 50 percent more likely to require emergency room treatment, including use of artificial respirators.

The study examined data on nearly 60,000 accidents between 2002 and 2006, as reported by a national trauma bank.

Researchers Suspect Extra Force of ATVs Leads to More Deaths

Surgeons don’t know yet what causes the higher fatality rate, according to study head Dr. Adil Haider of the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research in Baltimore. He said he and his colleagues think the cause may be that ATVs apply more force when rolling over on a victim, though they’re not sure if that’s because of their extra weight or the fact that their stability directs more force downward onto the victim.

Haider said the results of the study should be a warning to everyone involved with ATVs – including users, manufacturers, and the lawmakers who regulate them – not to assume that they are safe because they have four wheels. He included parents and teachers in his warning, since many ATV makers produce smaller models for use by children.

Parents of Child Victims Lobby for Change

Parents of children killed and injured in ATV accidents have lobbied for changes in regulations and in dealer marketing strategies. A Johns Hopkins investigator said dealers often try to sell parents an ATV that is too large and powerful, on the grounds that the child will “grow into it.”

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an ATV rollover accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. If your accident was the result of misrepresentation by the manufacturer or dealer, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for medical bills, loss of income, or loss of companionship.

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