Off-Highway Vehicles

CFA Issues Fourth of July OHV Warning to Parents

Documents Over 2,500 OHV Fatalities since 2013, 17 Percent Are Children Under 16 Years of Age

As July 4th approaches, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is alerting parents and all off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders to use caution when allowing their children to ride OHVs, which are comprised of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), and utility task vehicles (UTVs). CFA and our OHV safety coalition have documented over 2,500 OHV-related fatalities since 2013, and of those deaths, over 400 are of children under the age of sixteen. While already high, this data is not yet complete and will likely increase as additional information becomes available.

Noted in the chart below, between January 1, 2013 through June 27, 2017, CFA and our OHV safety coalition have documented 2,583 OHV fatalities in the United States. Of those deaths, 442 (17%) are of children who are less than 16 years old. This is particularly troubling because children under 16 years old should not be operating adult-sized OHVs or any OHV that is too large and too powerful for them.

“As July 4th approaches, we urge all OHV riders to be cautious this holiday season and especially urge parents not to allow their children to operate an adult OHV or one that is too powerful for them,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel for CFA. “Parents should also ensure their children have the necessary skills and are using safety equipment, such as helmets, when operating an OHV.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its most recent fatality and injury report related to ATVs in January 2017. This data includes just ATVs and not other OHVs, while CFA’s data includes all OHVs. However, CFA can identify which OHV has been involved in each fatality. In the CPSC’s report, the most recent fatality data for 2015 includes 340 ATV fatalities. In 2015, CFA identified 501 ATV fatalities. In 2014, the CPSC documented 547 ATV fatalities, and CFA identified 545. In 2013, the CPSC documented 581 ATV fatalities, and CFA identified 482. The CPSC is continuing to collect ATV fatality data.

CFA has been working to minimize deaths and injuries from OHVs for decades by petitioning the CPSC to ban adult-size ATVs for children, by convening a coalition to prevent OHV road access, and with that coalition, by compiling fatality information in real time.

CFA urges the following six critical steps to reducing OHV deaths and injuries:

  • Never operate an OHV on a road.
  • Never permit children younger than 16 years old to operate an adult-size OHV or any OHV that is too large and too powerful for them.
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding an OHV.
  • Never allow more people on an OHV than it was designed to carry.
  • Never ride when under the influence.
  • Take a hands-on safety course.

CFA and the OHV safety coalition collect fatality data from news reports, game or natural resource crash investigations, state crash investigations, as well as data from the CPSC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). CFA data is likely an underestimate of actual fatalities and CFA consistently updates the data as more information is obtained. CFA makes this data available on our website.

The Consumer Federation of America is a national organization of more than 250 nonprofit consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.