Home >  Blog >  Chilling Statistics That Prove Ontario ATV Laws Need To Be Changed To Protect Children

Chilling Statistics That Prove Ontario ATV Laws Need To Be Changed To Protect Children

Posted on 5 August 2015

On June 14, 2015, 9-year-old Tyler Massey died in an ATV accident. The full-sized ATV he was riding crashed into the bushes, and rolled over on top him. His mother, Linda Russell, started the Tyler Massey Memorial Fund to educate parents and children on the dangers of riding ATVs too big for children, and raise awareness of the "Tyler Massey Law."

If the petition receives enough signatures, Russell hopes Ontario will implement the Tyler Massey Law, regarding children and ATVs. Currently, the Ontario Off-Road Vehicle Act states children 12 and under can operate an ATV with adult supervision, or if they are on land owned by the ATV owner.
Child related deaths on ATVs can be prevented simply by regulating the size and power of ATVs children 12 and under are legally allowed to operate.

25% Of ATV Deaths Occur In Children 15 Or Younger

According to a study done by Safe Kids Canada in 2010, 25% of ATV related deaths occur in children 15 years old or younger. Head injuries are the leading cause of serious injury or death.

Another study, done in 2010 (Lord, S., Tator, C.H., & Wells, S.), proves the highest risk group of fatalities in 15-29. This same study states ATV injuries are the third most common cause of severe sport and recreation injuries in Canada.

There are a few factors that increase the risk of an ATV accident, primarily weight and power. Riding with a passenger can affect the weight and balance of an ATV and can cause loss of control. ATVs are large machines, and most children lack the weight, skill, judgment, and development to properly control such a large vehicle. Riding an ATV is not like riding a bike or driving a car. ATVs require the rider to shift his or her weight around depending on the terrain, which is extremely difficult for a child to do.

9 People Have Died From ATV Accidents in Ontario in 2015

There have been 9 fatalities so far from ATV accidents in Ontario. Alcohol was a factor in five of the nine fatalities, while speed was a factor in three.

Northern Ontario Has The Highest Rate Of ATV Injuries

In 2004, according to the Canadian Safety Council, 850,000 Canadians owned an ATV. Some regions of Canada use ATVs as a means of off-road transportation, especially in areas used for forestry, farming, and recreational purposes. Although ATVs are typically used off-road, a Canadian study proves that ATVs are in fact as dangerous as motorcycles. Together, ATVs and snowmobiles accost for 13% of hospitalizations, 7% of emergency room visits, 12% of cases of permanent partial disability, and 11% of permanent disability. Direct costs of ATV and snowmobile injuries in Canada are $185 million, and indirect costs are $196 million, totaling $381 million. 

In Ontario, on average, more than 15 people a day are seen in emergency rooms from ATV injuries. In 2005/2006, there were 5,584 Emergency Department visits and 579 hospitalizations for ATV injuries. Of those hospitalized, 78% were discharged home, 10% were discharged home with supports services, and 1% died. The majority of those injured were ATV drivers.

The highest rate of ATV related injuries were reported to be in Northern Ontario, with males accounting for 80% of Emergency Department visits and 83% of hospitalizations. Both males and females aged 10-24 represented the highest number and rate of Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations for ATV injuries, and from this, males aged 15-19 had the highest number Emergency Department visits (935) and hospitalizations (87).

In Canada, ATV injuries requiring hospitalization increased by 57% between 1996 and 2004. 34% of these involved children aged 0 to 19 years old, with 16% aged 5 to 14, and over 17% aged 15 to 19. Between 2004 and 2009, the hospitalization rate has increased by 17% (for all ages). Hospitalization for children 5 to 9 years old increased 19%, and 13% for children aged 10-14.

Almost Half Of All ATV Deaths Are From Children 16 And Younger

In a 2006 study in the Journal of Paediatric Surgery, almost half of all ATV related injuries and over 35% of ATV deaths are from children 16 and younger. The Canadian Paediatric Society reported that drivers carrying passengers in 15% to 30% of cases were children who were hospitalized for ATV injuries.
From 2000 to 2002, approximately 141 Canadians died each from ATV related trauma, which increased by 27% between 2003 and 2007. Nearly 40% of these deaths were children aged 19 and younger.

The most common injuries suffered by children include fractures, head injuries, facial trauma, contusions, abrasions, and lacerations. ATVs in Canada have voluntary standards, which include product labels recommending children 12 and younger not be permitted to ride ATVs with engines greater than 70cc, and children 16 and younger not be permitted to ride ATVs with engines greater than 90cc.

Other Canadian Provinces Have Stricter ATV Laws

Other provinces in Canada have stricter ATV laws. ATV drivers in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island must be 14 years old to operate ATVs, and require adult supervision until the driver is 16. In Quebec, children must be 16 to operate a full-size ATV; children under 16 can operate youth-size ATVs. In Newfoundland and Labrador, children aged 14 and 15 are permitted to operate ATVs that are 90cc or smaller, and with adult supervision only. Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island require completion of ATV safety training courses for children to be permitted to operate ATVs.

Multiple medical and safety organizations agree that children under 16 should be prohibited from operating adult size ATVs. Since most jurisdictions permit 16-year-olds to operate a motor vehicle, this age has become the recommended minimum for operating an ATV, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society, the American Academy of Paediatrics, the Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, the American Paediatric Surgical Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, Safe Kids Canada and Safe Kids USA.

If you'd like to help change the ATV laws in Ontario, please visit www.tylermassey.ca/atv-safety-sign-the-petition-ontario to sign the petition and learn how you can make a difference in Ontario.

Tags:Tyler Massey Law | Ontario Off Road Vehicle Act | ATV Laws

Post comment

memorial fund

the petition

A Story

Submitted Stories

Emma Goldman, author , wrote. .. "No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure." As Tyler's Third Grade teacher, I've had the opportunity to see the richness of T...


Read All

Latest News