Using Geospatial Mapping to Determine the Impact of All-Terrain Vehicle Crashes on Both Rural and Urban Communities

INTRODUCTION: Deaths and injuries from all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes result in approximately 700 deaths each year and more than 100,000 emergency department (ED) visits. Common misconceptions about ATV crashes are a significant barrier to injury prevention efforts, as is the lack of key information about where and how crashes occur. The purpose of this study was to determine ATV crash patterns within a state, and to compare and contrast characteristics of these crashes as a function of crash-site rurality. METHODS: The authors performed descriptive, comparative, and regression analyses using a statewide off-road vehicle crash and injury database (2002-2013). Comparisons were performed by rurality as defined using the Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) coding system, and they used geographic information system (GIS) software to map crash patterns at the zip code and county levels. RESULTS: ATV crashes occurred throughout the state; 46% occurred in urban and 54% in rural zip code areas. Comparisons of rider and crash characteristics by rurality showed similarities by sex, age, seating position, on vs. off the road, and crash mechanism. Conversely, helmet use was significantly lower among victims of isolated rural crashes as compared to other victims (p=0.004). Crashes in isolated rural and small rural areas accounted for only 39% of all crashes but resulted in 62% of fatalities. In both rural and urban areas, less than one-quarter of roadway injuries were traffic related. Relative crash rates varied by county, and unique patterns were observed for crashes involving youth and roadway riders. During the study period, 10% and 50% of all crashes occurred in 2% and 20% of the state's counties, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that ATV crashes are a public health concern for both rural and urban communities. However, isolated rural ATV crash victims were less likely to be helmeted, and rural victims were over-represented among fatalities. Traffic was not the major factor in roadway crashes in either rural or urban areas. Unique crash patterns for different riding populations suggest that injury prevention experts and public policy makers should consider the potential impact of geographical location when developing injury prevention interventions.


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  • Accession Number: 01669736
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 4 2018 2:50PM