Off-highway vehicle injuries increasing due to people changing recreation activities due to covid-19
Due to school closures and stay-at-home-orders throughout the country in response to covid-19, at least five states have reported increased off-highway vehicle injuries. Reports from doctors in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Vermont indicate increased emergency room visits as a result of off-highway vehicle incidents.
The Consumer Federation of America is issuing an alert to off-highway vehicle riders to operate their vehicles with caution as summer begins.
“We are alarmed at reports of increased numbers of OHV emergency room visits in hospitals in five states," said Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel for the CFA. "These increases are occurring earlier than usual due to COVID-19 school closures and stay-at home-orders and we hope that OHV incidents do not continue to increase as summer begins.”
Off-highway vehicle include all-terrain vehicles or ATVs, recreational off-highway vehicles or ROVs, and utility task vehicles or UTVs.
From 2013 through 2019, July is the month with the most off-highway vehicle fatalities, with May and August following as the second and third most fatal months, according to data gathered by the CFA and its OHV Safety Coalition. The day with the highest number of fatalities is July 4th. July 4th is also the day of the year with the most fatalities of children aged 16 or younger.
“All OHVs, even youth models, pose risks," said Gary Smith, M.D., president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance. "OHVs are fast, complex machines, and due to their design, they roll over easily. One wrong choice could lead to the emergency department or worse. Children younger than 16 years just aren’t ready for the demands of safe riding, so we encourage parents to find a different activity for their child.”
The CFA and its OHV Safety Coalition have been documenting off-highway vehicle deaths since 2013 by compiling, analyzing, and making publicly available data and findings from newspaper and government resources. From 2013 through 2019, they documented more than 550 deaths during the month of July. For those years, the CFA has documented more than 4,000 deaths. The findings aren't complete and the number of deaths are likely increase as more information becomes available.