252215 All-terrain vehicles: Epidemiology & policy strategies for saving lives

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Amy L. Radican-Wald, DrPH Candidate, MPH , Center for Mississippi Health Policy, Jackson, MS
Background: Evidence shows All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) impact morbidity and mortality at increased levels when safety policies are absent. Five states, including Mississippi, lack ATV safety legislation. Methods: Mixed qualitative and quantitative analyses of stakeholders, trauma registry, vital statistics, and hospital discharge data. Results: Mississippians are 3.5 times more likely (p<.01) to die from ATV accidents compared to the nation. ATV injuries rose five-fold over eight years, significantly (p <.01) so for children under sixteen, of which public insurance paid one-third of claims. Head injury, site of the highest percentage (41%) of ATV injuries statewide, is significantly (p<.01) higher than other locations. Helmet use reduces risk of ATV related deaths by nearly half and head injury risk by 64%. States without ATV safety legislation have twice the death rates (p<.01) of states with ATV safety legislation. Stakeholder scans revealed consensus ATV safety is a state health policy issue. Discussion: Children under sixteen are at highest risk and risks are increasing statewide. Injuries driving morbidity and mortality rates can be curtailed via policy intervention shown effective in reducing these trends. Policymakers demonstrated understanding of the issue by calling a legislative hearing where findings were discussed. Several ATV-related bills were subsequently authored and research findings directly utilized in public policy debates and media. An ATV safety law passed effective July 2011 mandating helmet use and safety training for children under 16 riding on public lands. Evidence utilized could serve as a model for states facing similar challenges framing public health issues targeting policymakers.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the demographic group at highest risk of ATV injury and death. Describe two policies for which epidemiological evidence supports having an impact on ATV injuries and deaths. Identify the specific policy found most effective in reducing ATV injuries and deaths. Develop four strategies for bridging the gap between all terrain vehicle(ATV)epidemiological research and health policy action.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a trained public health policy and data analyst with ten years of professional experience. I hold a masters degree in public health from a CEPH accredited program in epidemiology and biostatistics. I am currently a doctoral candidate in public health epidemiology from a CEPH accredited program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.