An average of 14 people die each year in ATV incidents — and more than half of all ATV fatalities between 2002 and 2013 tested positive for alcohol. Every year, about 5,200 Albertans visit an Alberta Health Services (AHS) emergency department — and 600 are admitted to hospital — following crashes involving ATVs, according to research from the Injury Prevention Centre at the School of Public Health, University of Alberta.
“Even small amounts of alcohol make it harder to think and act quickly when driving a vehicle that is prone to rolling over,” says Don Voaklander, Director of the Injury Prevention Centre.
“ATVs pose significant risk to all users, especially for those driving impaired,” adds Dr. Gerry Predy, Senior Medical Officer of Health, Public Health, AHS. “Drive responsibly and pay attention so you're in control and never use alcohol or drugs before or while riding.”
ATV drivers and passengers are urged to follow these precautions:
Ride sober: Don’t drink or do drugs before or while operating an ATV. Impaired driving laws are the same for all motorized vehicles, including quads and other OHVs.
Wear the gear: Always wear a helmet. CSA-compliant helmets must be worn by users of off-highway vehicles when riding on public land but a helmet worn every ride can save your life. From 2002 to 2013, 41 per cent of ATV deaths in Alberta were due to head injuries. In 80 per cent of these head injury deaths, the riders were not wearing a helmet. In addition to a helmet, always wear a jacket, long pants, goggles, boots and gloves.
Get trained: Before you hit the trails, get formal hands-on training from a trained ATV instructor. Rollovers cause more than half of ATV deaths. Learn what makes an ATV roll and how you can prevent it.