ATV accidents are increasing dramatically

July 18, 2004

Dear Editor:

One major concern of our Boyle County Child Fatality Review Team is prevention of deaths and injuries to children. All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents are increasing dramatically. In1984, there were three ATV deaths in Kentucky; in 2003, there were 38 ATV deaths.

Ginger Alford, emergency and trauma coordinator at University of Kentucky, reports there have been 288 ATV deaths in Kentucky since 1984, with 105 of these involving children under 18 years of age. Six of the 38 ATV deaths in 2003 involved children under 18.

In our own local emergency room during the past 12 months, we have had 121 ATV-related injuries, and 54 of these involved children from ages 2 to 18. Many of these victims were ATV passengers.


Speed, driving inexperience, substance abuse and poor vehicle control are major factors that can lead to accidents and death. Our recommendations are to educate parents not to allow young children to drive or ride on ATVs, to demand all youth who ride ATVs to receive supervision and training, to inform drivers that no extra riders be allowed on the vehicle, to never ride ATVs on roadways (it is also against the law), and to always use safety equipment, especially helmets. Only five of the UK-reported severely injured children were wearing helmets.

Parental education and influence are by far the most effective preventive measures. Let's make ATV use safe in our area.

Dr. James Ramey, Coroner Chairperson

Dr. Richard Hempel

Roger D. Trent, Public health director

Boyle County Child Fatality Review Team

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