North Carolina all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety legislation: an assessment of the short-term impact on ATV-related morbidity and mortality

N C Med J. 2009 Nov-Dec;70(6):503-6.


Objective: All-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related morbidity and mortality has increased in the US, and states have attempted to combat this trend with ATV-specific safety legislation. The objective of this study was to examine the short-term changes in ATV-related injuries and deaths following the enactment of legislation regulating the operation and sale of ATVs in North Carolina.

Study design and data collection: The study is a retrospective analysis comparing ATV collisions during the six month pre and post period of the effective date of legislation. Demographics, medical outcomes, passenger seat position, helmet use, and alcohol use were analyzed.

Data: Subjects were identified through the North Carolina Trauma Registry and data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Findings: A total of 102 (51 in both pre- and post-legislation) subjects required medical treatment or were declared dead secondary to ATV collisions in North Carolina. Children under the age of eight years, who were forbidden from using ATVs under the new legislation, had significantly fewer total medical evaluations and deaths in the post-legislative time period. There was no association between legislative time period and ATV-related passenger, helmet, or alcohol use.

Conclusions: In the six months following the enactment of North Carolina's ATV bill, children under the age of eight years were seriously injured or died less often due to ATV-related crashes. No other significant changes in ATV riding patterns were seen between the two time periods, and the morbidity and mortality of all ATV riders did not change.

Limitations: The examined data sets do not include data from all North Carolina hospitals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Accidents / mortality
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety / legislation & jurisprudence*