Penchant for what is known as off-road vehicles and drunken driving has resulted in increased hospitalization in Canada.
As per the figures released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the country saw a 25 per cent jump in the last decade in hospitalizations necessitated by accidents involving all terrain vehicles (ATVs).
AdvertisementTen per cent of ATV injuries were classified as severe in 2004-05, with more than half being severe head injuries.
Off-road vehicles have an enthusiastic following because of their many uses and versatility. Several types of motor sports involve racing off-road vehicles. The most common use of these vehicles is for sight seeing in areas distant from regular roads.
As ATVs are more commonly used in northern and rural parts of Canada, ATV-related injury hospitalizations varied considerably across Canada.
"On average, 11 Canadians were hospitalized per day in 2004 and 2005 because of ATV-related injuries," said Margaret Keresteci, manager of clinical registries at CIHI.
"These machines can reach high speeds and often travel on rough terrain, so the impact of a fall or collision can be quite dramatic."
Hospitalizations due to off-road vehicles increased by 66 per cent, while snowmobile-related hospitalizations decreased by 20 per cent between 1996-97 and 2004-05.
Most injuries were sustained by adults, not children.
The average age of a person hospitalized for an ATV-related injury was 32, with males accounting for the majority.
The highest proportion of injuries was sustained by 15 to 19-year-olds, followed by 20 to 24-year-olds.
Twenty to 24-year-olds also experienced the greatest increase in the number of ATV-related injury admissions, with an increase of 41 per cent.
The majority of those admitted for an injury related to an ATV suffered orthopedic injuries, with broken legs accounting for 35.5 per cent of snowmobile-related injury hospitalizations and 29.2 per cent of off-road vehicle admissions.
Alcohol use above the legal limit was a factor in 23 per cent of specialized trauma unit admissions for snowmobiling accidents and 28 per cent of accidents involving off-road vehicles.
Of those injured with alcohol levels above the legal limit, 95 per cent were the drivers.
Children are banned from driving these vehicles. In fact reports earlier this year indicated considerable fall in the sale of the ATVs following some tough regulations introduced by the federal government.