All-Terrain Vehicle Injuries: A Comparison with Motorcycle Injuries

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of this study is to compare the morbidity and mortality between all

-terrain vehicles and motorcycles.


Motorcycle (MC) use is associated with more injuries and deaths than regular automobile use and is accordingly regulated by licensure requirements. Nationwide, All-Terrain vehicles (ATVs) are minimally regulated and have no age limit for use on public lands. We compared injuries occurring from

MC vs. ATVs, hypothesizing that the reduced ATV regulation would translate to worse injuries and involve younger patients.

Methods: All ATV and MC trauma patients admitted a Level I Trauma Center

over a five year period (January 2006 to December 2010) were identified. Variables recorded included age, gender, vehicle, helmet use, injury severity scale (ISS), length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit days (ICU), and mortality rate.

Injuries were noted based on location; i.e., head, face, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis, upper extremity and lower extremity. Independent samples t-test analysis was used to compare age, ISS, LOS, and ICU. Pearson chi-square analysis was used to compare gender, discharge status, and injury location.

Results: In the studied period there were 1133 MC injuries and 247ATV injuries.

The mean age was significantly lower in the ATV group, MC (41.8 yrs) versus ATV (32.4 yrs), p <0.001. This suggests that children and young adults are

disproportionately involved in ATV trauma. The MC group had a higher injury severity than the ATV group (13.7 vs. 10.9 with p<0.001).Overall hospital LOS and ICU length of stay were also significantly higher for MC injuries than ATV injuries (p<0.001).We, however, observed that helmet use was less frequent in the ATV (23.6%) than the MC (31.8%) cohort and so higher incidence of head injuries

with ATV.

Conclusion: MC injures are more prevalent and severe at our Level I Trauma center than those resulting from ATVs. ATV injures however involve a younger

population, are associated with less helmet use and more head injuries. Given the younger population and the incidence of head trauma in ATV trauma, implementation of helmet laws and/or increase education and safety training programs for ATV riders would be useful in reducing injuries.


This paper was presented at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Fifth Annual Medical Student Research Symposium, Dayton, Ohio, April 4, 2013.