According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, ATVs killed more than 500 people in 2006 and of those victims nearly 1 on in 5 was a child. In addition to ATV deaths, accidents involving such popular vehicles as the Polaris ATV and the Yamaha Rhino ATV sent 146,600 people to hospital emergency rooms that same year.
Some 75 percent of the ATV accidents result in serious damage to the head or spinal cord of the accident victim. Head injuries are a major cause of serious life threatening or lifelong physical problems and ailments. Injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis of the entire body for life.
Most of the deaths and injuries to children are the result of youngsters riding adult-size ATVs, and consumer groups say the agency needs to do more to keep kids off ATVs that are too big and too powerful for them. Consumer advocates have called on the CPSC to ban the sale of adult-size ATVs for use for children. The agency has declined to do that.
There is only a voluntary agreement in place with major ATV distributors in which they require dealers not to sell adult-size ATVs to people who might allow children to ride them. Consumer groups say few dealers abide by the rule.