Examining Ontario deaths due to all-terrain vehicles, and targets for prevention

Can J Neurol Sci. 2010 May;37(3):343-9. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100010234.


Background: All-terrain vehicle (ATV) use is increasingly popular among people of all ages. Although ATV use is known to cause significant morbidity due to head and neck trauma, there is a lack of published data detailing ATV-related fatalities. We examined all ATV-related fatalities in Ontario from 1996 - 2005 to determine the epidemiology and risk factors as a guide for improved injury prevention strategies.

Methods: All ATV-related fatalities from 1996 - 2005 in Ontario were examined through Coroner's reports in the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario. Epidemiologic information and risk factors relating to the driver, environment, and vehicle were recorded.

Results: There were 74 ATV-related fatalities from 1996 - 2005. There was only one fatality per year in 1996 and 1997 and a peak of 16 per year in 2004 and 2005. Head and neck injuries were the commonest causes of death. Males comprised 90.5% of the cases. The highest risk was from age 15 - 29, and 21% of fatalities occurred in children under 16. Northeastern Ontario had the highest fatality rate.

Conclusions: There was a major increase in the incidence of ATV-related fatalities in Ontario from 1996 - 2005 with the majority due to head trauma. Notable risk factors included alcohol use, riding at night, lack of helmet use, and excessive speed. We recommend the adoption of laws that focus on helmet requirements, a minimum driver age of 16, and certified training courses. Aggressive injury prevention efforts should be targeted toward males aged 15 - 29.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention* / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult