ATV Safety - Coroners' evidence ignored

Public news

The debate as to whether the addition of Crush Protection Devices (CPDs) on All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) is necessary, is still a hotly contested issue.

Recent recommendations with the aim of improving ATV safety handed down at three separate and independent Coronial Inquests have gone unheard interstate. Following the findings into several ATV fatalities over a period of five years, the Tasmanian Coroner noted that none of the riders tragically killed received formal ATV-rider training and consequently recommended mandating training for all riders.

These recent findings and recommendations follow similar outcomes to investigations in New South Wales and Queensland, and Coroners were unanimous in recommending mandatory helmets and training for riders. After hearing evidence from engineers from the University of New South Wales, the Coroner made a recommendation for the fitment of CPDs. A survey conducted by the University of New South Wales acknowledged that CPDs would not be effective when ATVs are ridden above 20km per hour, which would in effect, rule out the use of CPDs on most Australian farms.

Notwithstanding the survey results, SafeWork NSW recommended that CPDs should be fitted to workplace ATVs. The current situation in Victoria involves safety regulators not only subsidising CPDs but also issuing Improvement Notices to ATV operators deemed to have insufficient safety features fitted to an ATV.

Increased rider training and safety gear is being recommended by industry bodies around the nation with the simple use of crash helmets shown to be the most effective safety device for ATV riders, providing reductions in injuries of 60% and reductions in fatalities of 42%. The MTA recommends that continued education material handed out at the point of sale by approved dealers should be strongly used to improve vehicle safety.

If you would like to provide any information or thoughts on ATV safety, click here to email Nathan Groves.