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IIHS releases new study on ATV deaths

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released data from a new study detailing the number of accidents that resulted in deaths on public roads of riders of All-Terrain Vehicles. From 2007 to 2011 there were an approximate 1,700 casualties. Alabama had between 20 and 29 deaths during that time period.

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“These Vehicles are designed for off-road use,” says IIHS senior vice President for research and co-author of the study, Anne Mccart, “yet most of the fatal crashes are occurring on roads.”

A vast majority of the deaths were not caused because of direct passenger vehicles but by the ATV’s alone. Meaning, most of these are the results of the rider losing control of the ATV, and nearly 90% of the deaths were of drivers themselves, not passengers riding on the back. Not surprising was that adult males were more frequently victims than women.

Kentucky had the most accidents overall, 122 according to the study, yet West Virginia had the highest rate of ATV rider deaths, 105 per 10 million people. New Hampshire and Washington D.C. had none reported. The report also notes that a mere 13 percent of the drivers and 6 percent of passengers killed were wearing helmets at the time of their deaths. 56 percent of single-vehicle fatal ATV crashes involved a rollover of the vehicle itself, according to autoblog.com.

Most states have bans of ATV’s traveling on public paved roads, but many have exceptions that make enforcing such bans difficult, such as allowing the vehicles to ride along the road for a limited number of miles. Further laws mandating strict helmet use could also help prevent so many deaths. Only eight states require wearing a helmet on public roads, while most only make the distinction if the rider is a minor.

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