N.L. has higher-than-average rates of youth injuries on ATVs and snowmobiles

July 30th, 2018

Safety coalition asking for increased public education and tougher provincial laws

An average side-by-side ATV is about the same size as a small pickup truck, and weighs more than a thousand pounds. The vehicles aren't covered under current ATV legislation, which was last updated in 2005. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador has one of Canada's highest rates of hospitalization for children and youth using ATVs and snowmobiles, and a coalition of safety groups is calling for legislative changes to reduce injuries.

"The evidence is clear — ATVs and snowmobiles are a safety issue in the country and especially in the province of Newfoundland Labrador," the N.L. Injury Prevention Coalition, the N.L. Public Health Association and Safety N.L. said in a joint position paper released this month.

That evidence shows that children and youth in the province are injured at rates well above the averages both nationally and in Atlantic Canada specifically.

"In our province, for ATV injuries, we had the third-highest hospitalizations with 13.6 hospitalizations per 100,000," Janice White, chair of the offroad safety group Newfoundland and Labrador Injury Prevention Coalition, told the St. John's Morning Show Thursday.

"For snowmobiles, we have the second highest in the whole country, with 7.6 of a rate per 100,000."

That national rate for ATV-related injuries for minors is 6.8 per 100,000 and the rate for Atlantic Canada is 9.6 per 100,000. For snowmobiles, the Canadian rate is 1.1 per 100,000 for ATVs and 2.0 per 100,000 for snowmobiles.

Those rates include only injuries that required hospitalization in youth, and do not include either injuries that did not require hospitalization or those that resulted in fatalities at the accident scene.


Posted on July 30th, 2018