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Off the Beaten Path Massachusetts’ ATV safety law Lewis C. Howe, Executive Director The Safety Institute, Inc. Consumer Product Safety Commission Oct.11,

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Presentation on theme: "Off the Beaten Path Massachusetts’ ATV safety law Lewis C. Howe, Executive Director The Safety Institute, Inc. Consumer Product Safety Commission Oct.11,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Off the Beaten Path Massachusetts’ ATV safety law Lewis C. Howe, Executive Director The Safety Institute, Inc. Consumer Product Safety Commission Oct.11, 2012

2 TSI’s interest in ATVs The Safety Institute emphasizes injury prevention and product safety as an important basis for a healthy and productive society and as a vital component to reducing health care costs. The TSI’s Survivors Network provides guidance and support to survivors and their families following catastrophic injury. In addition it advocates for the prevention of injuries and promotes product safety. Members include Concerned Families for ATV Safety; and the Sean Kearney Foundation.

3 ATVs are not for kids –A deadly threat: Between 1995 and 2005, ATVs killed at least 1,218 children under age 16. These children account for 27 percent of all ATV-related deaths during this period. (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2005 Annual Report of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)-Related Deaths and Injuries) ATVs roll over easily ATVs are not meant for passengers ATVs can weigh up to 800 pounds Uneven terrain or unforeseen obstacles can easily cause an ATV to roll over.

4 A Landmark Law Language of “Sean’s Law” (Chapter 202 of Massachusetts Acts of 2010) Section 26. (a) (1) No person under 14 years of age shall operate an all terrain vehicle or recreation utility vehicle. (Exceptions provided for snowmobiles and motocross competitions) (2) No person between 14 and 16 years of age shall operate an all-terrain vehicle or recreation utility vehicle with an engine capacity greater than 90 cubic centimeters; provided, however, that a person between 14 and 16 years of age may operate an all-terrain vehicle or recreation utility vehicle with an engine capacity equal to or less than 90 cubic centimeters if directly supervised by a person 18 years of age or older. (b) No person aged 18 years of age or older shall knowingly permit another, who is under the age of 18, to operate a snow vehicle or recreation vehicle in his custody or under his control in violation of this chapter.

5 A winning team The Kearneys—agreed to call it “Sean’s Law” CDC Core Injury Prevention Program Massachusetts Prevent Injuries Now! Network (ICPG) Massachusetts General Hospital—Dr. Peter Masiakos Children’s Hospital, Boston—Dr. Lois Lee Concerned Families for ATV Safety—Carolyn Anderson Children’s Safety Network SafeKids Massachusetts Chapters American Academy of Pediatrics, MA Chapter MA Medical Society Key State legislators, bipartisan coalition.

6 Knowing the landscape Our advocates successfully pushed for Sean’s Law using multiple arguments attractive to legislators of all persuasions: ATV safety is a children’s rights issue: any consumer product that, when used as intended, can cause danger to the user is a product that should not be available for sale. A parents’ rights issue—outside of rural areas, many parents often don’t know what ATVs are or how powerful they are. A health care system cost containment issue—fewer serious injuries, including TBIs, reduces costs for the care and recovery of those injured.

7 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOP) have adopted formal policies recommending that children under age 16 not drive ATVs. According to AAP: “Laws should prohibit the use of ATVs, on- or off-road, by children and adolescents younger than 16 years. An automobile driver’s license, and preferably some additional certification in ATV use, should be required to operate an ATV.”(AAP, Policy Statement, All-Terrain Vehicle Injury Prevention: Two-, Three-, and Four-Wheeled Unlicensed Motor Vehicles, 2000) The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states: “The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons considers ATVs to be a significant public health risk... The minimum age of 16 for operating an ATV on or off the road should be enforced.” (AAOS, Position Statement, All-Terrain Vehicles, 1992) Massachusetts was the first state to create a law based on these recommendations. Courtesy, Concerned Families for ATV Safety Why keep ATVs away from kids?

8 Encouraging results In the first full year of Sean’s Law, 34 fewer children ages were sent to the ED because of injuries sustained on an ATV. In the first full year of Sean’s Law, 34 fewer children ages were sent to the ED because of injuries sustained on an ATV. Ages 0-9 Ages Ages FY Off-Road Motor Vehicle Injuries by Trends in Massachusetts Emergency Department Discharges Associated with Non-motorcyclist Age Subgroup, All Dispositions, All Persons and Age Groups

9 Hospitalization data for kids 0-14 Trends in Massachusetts Inpatient Hospital Discharges Associated with Non-motorcyclist Off-Road Motor Vehicle Injuries by Age Subgroup Ages 0-14, by Fiscal Year In the first year under Sean’s Law, hospital discharges for children were reduced by almost half. FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY

10 Fewer Traumatic Brain Injuries According to the MA Department of Public Health, the number of ATV-related traumatic brain injuries dropped during the first year of Sean’s Law from 141 to 108, a decrease of 21 percent. Trends in Massachusetts Emergency Department Discharges Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by Non-motorcycle Off-Road Motor Vehicle, All Dispositions, All Persons

11 Hospital discharges in MA, youth ages In 2009, 36 Massachusetts youth ages were discharged from hospitals following ATV- related injuries. This number fell to 27 in 2010 and, after passage of Sean’s law, dropped to just 13 in More study is needed to determine the impact of the law on these figures. With better outreach and promotion of the law, we hope for further reductions in injury rates.

12 Publicizing ATV safety laws is neither difficult nor expensive TSI has prepared the following 60 second PSA on Sean’s Law and its impact. oO9sc oO9sc

13 The road ahead Next Steps—In MA, TSI and its partners will work with MA DCR to educate parents of ALL year olds. Not just those who already ride. In Other states—redesign ATVs to make them safer, and discourage passengers on ATVs. Step up educational efforts to discourage unsafe and risky behavior. Stop marketing ATVs to young children as fun toys!!!

14 Questions or Comments Lewis C. Howe Executive Director The Safety Institute, Inc. 340 Anawan Street Rehoboth, MA


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