Helmets matter: Kentucky all-terrain vehicle crashes seen at a Tennessee Trauma center

George M. Testerman, Daniel C. Prior, Tamie D. Wells, Sarah E. Rollins, Stephen L. Oesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


All-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety laws, including helmet use, vary by state and are sporadically enforced. Kentucky state laws require safety helmets only for younger riders. We hypothesized that ATV riders injured in Kentucky and seen at a Tennessee trauma center would more likely be unhelmeted, have more severe head injuries, and have higher mortality rates than those injured in Virginia or Tennessee. A Trauma Registry review of 750 injured ATV riders from June 1, 2005, through June 1, 2015 examined state location of accident, helmet use, markers of injury severity, and outcomes. Multiple logistic regression analysis examined predictors of severe head injuries and death with P < 0.05 significant. Unhelmeted ATV rider status predicted more severe head injuries (relative risk 23.5, P < 0.001) and death (relative risk 4.6, P < 0.001). ATV riders injured in the state of Kentucky were twice as numerous. In addition, they were more likely than ATV riders injured in Tennessee or Virginia to be unhelmeted, to have severe head injuries, and to sustain fatal injuries (all P < 0.001). This single trauma center study lends support for maintaining and enforcing current universal helmet laws for ATV riders of all ages in states where they are in effect and highlights the need to upgrade helmet laws that apply only to some riders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-293
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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