ATV Accidents and Injuries Statistics

This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

We all strive to own all-terrain vehicles (ATV) at least at some point in our lives. Despite being great fun for those adrenaline junkies, these vehicles are part and parcel of almost every culture that loves adventure, let alone their convenience.


ATV Accidents and Injuries Statistics

Indeed they are quite great when used properly and safely around homes or property in general. ATV can also be a force to reckon when it comes to offering recreational fun.

With all these positive attributes, ATVs seem to be gaining popularity from one culture to another and from generation to generation across many counties. Given that there are two sides of a coin, the other side of ATVs is not so fascinating, to say the least.

These vehicles can be dangerous and a potential threat to many people if not used properly. That is why this article digs deeper into ATV accidents and injuries statistics to show you the other side of the story regarding their use.

Statistics of ATV Injuries

Inasmuch as these four wheelers make it easy for its riders to use them off-road, they are also prone to fatal accidents. Even though accidents are part of your natural environment when people use different types of machines, it doesn’t necessarily imply that you accept the reality of this crucial matter.

Obviously, there must be some underlying reasons as to why ATV accidents and injuries are have become rampant as indicated in the following statistics:

  • The annual total number of accidents and injuries resulting from ATV use went up from 10,000 cases in 1982 to a staggering 15,000 in the year 2017. This 50% increase could be attributed to a number of factors, key among them being widespread use of these four-wheelers.
  • There has been an increase in the number of ATV-related fatalities yearly. For instance, there were 29 such incidents in 1982 alone but the number rose to 766 fatal injuries in 2007.
  • Between 1982 and 2009 there were disturbing reports of 10,281 deaths resulting from ATV accidents and sadly that number could go even higher as more and more people use these four-wheelers.
  • Statistics show that more than a quarter (or 25%) of the accidents and injuries that were caused by ATVs happened to young individuals who were aged below 16 years. This is a large percentage considering that these four-wheelers are a great choice for young people who are likely to engage in all kinds of off-road activities.
  • Surprisingly, ATV accidents and injuries are common among white men aged between 18 and 30 years. Those victims who fall in this age bracket are actually the most active and adventurous in all societies.
  • A whopping 80% of ATVs fatal injuries happen to those driving these vehicles rather than the passengers. Perhaps the drivers are at greater risk of getting injured because of trying to control the vehicles just before the accident occurs.
  • Children account for about 27% of those injured by four-wheelers despite being 15% of the riders. This is due to the fact that children are less experienced or have little understanding of the ramifications arising from careless driving of ATVs.
  • In the United States, 19 states have no laws requiring the riders of ATVs to wear helmets while 22 states still do not have the minimum age requirement for drivers. This statement explains better why there are numerous cases of injuries among young people especially in those states that have no laws to determine the right age of driving these quads.
  • One research finding showed that the average age of most ATV drivers stands at 12.8 years old.
  • In the year 2011, it was reported that there were more than 107,500 visits to emergency (EM) rooms by those who were involved in ATV accidents.
  • The good news is that from 2007, statistics indicate that there has been a steady decline in the EM visits as well as accident rates resulting from using ATVs.
  • It was found that 29,000 cases of the EM visits in 2011 were witnessed mainly from children aged below 16 years including 57 deaths resulting from ATV accidents.
  • Most of the ATV injuries and accidents today take place on roads or highways. This is sad because these four wheelers are not designed to be driven on roadways although they have occasionally found their way there.
  • In the US, 69% of the states allow four-wheelers on specific roads but under certain conditions.
  • The year 2007 is remembered as the time when the risk estimate for accidents and injuries to occur while riding these four wheelers rose to a high of 153.9 for every 10,000 trips.
  • Almost 75% of the total number of ATV accidents and injuries result in debilitating spinal cord and brain injuries. This is really scary considering that the brain and spinal cord are two delicate but very important organs in the body.
  • Reports on the total number of four-wheelers injuries and accidents every year has almost tripled since 1992.
  • Driving ATVs has been placed in the same category as diving and playing American Football in the sense that these sports are said to be among the main causes of accidents like the Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI) in young people aged below 17 years.
  • Out of 2,865 ATV-related injuries in children as young as 16 years old and below, 43% were found to be younger than 12 years old.
  • In a period of between 2001 and 2011, there was no linear trend detected in several ATV-related emergency departments treated fatal injuries.
  • Out of the 107,500 estimated cases that were said to be ATV-related, the emergency department of treated injuries involving all ages in the year 2011 witnessed 87% of the victims being categorized as treated for injuries and then released to go home.
  • According to statistics, 29% of ATV-related injuries occur mostly on the person’s arm. But the head and neck take another 28% of the victim’s injuries.

From the statistics, you can understand the magnitude of fatalities and injuries resulting from riding ATVs.

It doesn’t imply that these four wheelers are extremely dangerous or the main cause of this road carnage but it means that if safety measures are not taken into consideration when driving them they can as well become dangerous to the riders, passengers or other road users.

Therefore, a lot of care and training is needed to ensure that cases of ATV-related injuries and accidents are minimized.

Most Common ATV Injuries

As mentioned earlier, all-terrain vehicles are great fun especially to those looking to try out their skills off-road. Anyone can ride them and enjoy a mixture of thrill and fun that comes with these little vehicles.

But are you aware of the common ATV injuries? If not, this is the time to know the truth about the most common ATV-related accidents and injuries that are likely to occur just in case.

The fact that ATVs don’t have seat belts and are a little bit heavier, this makes them dangerous and hazardous to those riders. Here are the injuries you are likely to sustain when driving ATVs:

Head Injuries

When riding ATVs, you are hereby advised to wear a helmet in order to protect your head whenever an accident occurs. This is because ATVs are designed without a roof and this could be detrimental to your wellbeing in case you get involved in an accident at high speeds.

Should you opt not to wear a helmet, the repercussions of your action are likely to result in concussions during an accident.

Therefore, you should always rethink of wearing a helmet all the time regardless of the speed with which you are going to ride your ATV. This is due to the fact that concussions can occur no matter how slow or fast you are riding your four wheeler.

Just keep in mind that you are handling an oversized vehicle thus the need to take all necessary precautions if you really care about your safety.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Most of the ATVs weigh between 500 and 600 pounds depending on the size and who it is designed for( either an adult or youth). This means when your ATV flips on you at the time of an accident, chances are it will exert some amount of pressure on you.

However, about 7.9% of the ATV related accidents result in spinal injuries. This type of injury can occur due to two major factors. These factors include the riders’ levelness of the road and steering ability.

Leg Injuries

One thing remains certain when discussing ATV-related injuries. And this is the fact that all accidents caused by ATVs are not life-threatening.

It doesn’t mean you should take every precautionary measure for granted every time you are riding your four wheelers but it gives you some hope and encouragement to enjoy your ride.

That being said, leg injuries occur mainly during the accident and you may experience scrapes, broken bones and burns if you are not wearing long pants.

Internal Injuries

The most scaring incident that can occur when riding your ATV is the rollover. This is quite risky, especially when riding your four wheelers whether off-road or on a highway. Rollover accidents are a common occurrence where there are obstacles on the road or when you are trying to showcase your riding skills.

When a rollover accident takes place, the internal organs get injured and this is a sad reality. These injuries come about as a result of massive weight on the ATV crushing the riders if they accidentally get caught underneath.

But you can prevent such accidents by simply not speeding up immediately from the stopped point, taking care when riding downhill, not leaning back while going uphill, driving on even ground and not taking corners too fast. The bottom line is, you should never take unnecessary risks when riding your quad.


Fractures are common when driving heavy and large vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles. In most cases, you may not be able to prevent falls, crashes, and rollovers.

If any of these incidents take place, there are chances of your bones cracking or breaking under the heavy weight of your speedy ATV.

If a fall happens and does not break anything in your body, definitely it will result in a very painful bruising and sprain. But you can take care of that using ice and other relevant first aid procedures.

How to Make ATV Riding Safe?

You can make your ATV riding enjoyable and fulfilling by simply sticking to the universally accepted safety measures. Here are a few tips that can help you make your ATV riding safely:

  • Wear safety gear all the time. These include helmets, boots, gloves, and goggles.
  • Carry out a thorough pre-ride inspection before hopping on your four wheeler
  • Never go for a ride alone if you want to be on the safe side in case you run out of gar, get lost or injured in the process.
  • You should not ride while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicants in order to stay alert and ride safely.
  • Every time you get tired remember to stop riding and take a break before moving on.
  • Always keep in mind that one rider per ATV is recommended at any time.
  • Take your ride on the designated trails for your safety and that of your ATV.
  • Make sure that you are riding the right ATV for your age.
  • Get familiar with your surroundings to avoid rollovers or bumps on your trail.
  • Do not ride beyond your skills and ability or perform dangerous stunts that can cause injuries to you.

Dirt Bike vs ATV-Which is Safer?

It may take you by surprise to learn that dirt bikes are safer than ATVs. This is the case especially for riders under the age of 16.

According to research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, ATV gets involved in less accidents but injuries are found to be more severe and frequent among the riders than what is seen in dirt bike riders.

ATVs are heavier thus more likely to roll over and cause severe injuries to a rider. This is unlike what happens on dirt bikes whereby the riders are thrown clear of their dirt bikes during the accident.

Statistics show that ATV crash victims were 50% more likely to be killed and 55% more likely to get admitted in the ICU in comparison to those injured in dirt bike accidents. In conclusion, dirt bikes are safer compared to quads (four wheelers).


The statistics on quads are appalling and quite discouraging for those looking to venture in ATV riding.

However, this can be short-changed only if safety measures are put into practice every time riders are out there doing what they love most.

Otherwise, ATV riding is quite fun and a great sport for those who love off-road rides.

Other Resources:–Statistics/Injury-Statistics

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *