By Art Powell, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety CenterSeptember 9, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Sept. 9, 2013) - Millions of all-terrain vehicles are in use in the United States, and their popularity grows each year.
But it's dangerous to underestimate the risks associated with ATVs. As of Aug. 8, 2013, five Soldiers had died in ATV accidents during fiscal 2013. Nationally, according to data available at atvsafety.gov, 327 Americans were killed on ATVs during 2011, and more than 107,000 were treated for injuries in hospital emergency rooms.
"We've investigated contributing factors in Army ATV fatalities and found a variety of circumstances," said Walter Beckman, program manager, Driving Directorate, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. "They range from indiscipline such as alcohol use, speed or lack of personal protective equipment, to one case where the Soldier was on duty, participating in training and wearing PPE."
All Soldiers are required to wear PPE when operating motorcycles and ATVs. However, motorcyclists are required to complete approved safety training; ATV operators are only encouraged to do so.
"Riders need to check at the dealer where they purchased their ATV, because many have training available," Beckman said. "There are other approved training courses; a good source for information on safety training is the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America."
Regulations regarding on-post use of ATVs vary from installation to installation.
"Just because your ATV was legal to ride on one Army post doesn't mean it's good to go at another post. Always check local regulations," Beckman said. "Riders and safety professionals may want to learn the instructions contained in Army Regulation 385-10 to better understand the details of how to safely enjoy an ATV."