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All-Terrain Vehicle Safety in Florida: Is Legislation Really the Answer?

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Florida is among the nation's leaders in all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related injuries and fatalities. We hypothesized that patients sustaining injuries while in compliance with ATV laws would demonstrate less severe injury patterns and improved outcomes when compared with noncompliant patients. We reviewed patients treated for ATV-related injuries over a 36-month period. We grouped patients according to conformity with Florida statutes and compared demographics, admission status, injuries sustained, and outcome measures. Three hundred seventy-seven patients were treated for ATV-related injuries. In 294 cases, sufficient data existed to assess compliance with Florida's statutes regarding ATV rider safety: safety helmet use for persons younger than age 16 years and prohibition of ATV operation on roadways. Forty-three per cent (n = 126) had violated one or both statutes; 57 per cent (n = 168) had violated neither. The group in violation was younger (15 vs 24 years, P < 0.001) and wore helmets less often (6 vs 34%, P < 0.001). Groups required admission at similar rates (62% violators vs 60% nonviolators, P = 0.770), showed similar injury patterns, and had comparable mortality rates (2% violators vs 5% nonviolators, P = 0.451). Current Florida laws are inadequate to prevent ATV-related injuries and their sequelae. This issue should be addressed through an increased focus on safety education for ATV operators.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA 2: Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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