The ATV industry has taken the initiative by promoting recognised safety practices and progressing the Coronial recommendations in order to achieve improved safety outcomes for riders.
Since 2015, both the Queensland and NSW Coroners have recommended a number of recognised safety practices all of which have been adopted by the ATV industry and its representative body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). None of the Coronial findings have recommended the fitment of Crush Protection Devices (CPDs) until they have been further evaluated.
The industry safety initiatives include:
- Strongly promoting helmets as the most effective safety device, as they have the potential to prevent more than 60 per cent of injuries;
- Immediately using the findings from the Coronial inquests to inform the nationally accredited training package;
- Developing an on-line training package for ATV riders in remote and regional areas who cannot attend rider training courses due to time and distance issues; and
- Developing an alternative rider training package that can be delivered locally in remote areas where there is limited access to training providers and courses. This course will be based on the US model and would deliver a higher level of strategies and skills than what is currently available in Australia.
Furthermore, Yamaha Australia and Shark Helmets have developed a specific helmet for ATV and SSV use. This helmet has been specifically designed to overcome many customer criticisms around ease of use and aims to foster positive attitudes toward helmet usage by ATV and SSV rider/drivers.
The helmet is the result of more than a year’s intensive development.
The new Shark ATV helmet:
- Is light in weight;
- Meets the European ECE 22-05 Standard now accepted in all states of Australia;
- Is ventilated to allow air to pass through and keep the rider cooler;
- Has special areas around the ears developed to improve hearing, and Bluetooth devices can be fitted for communication; and
- Can be used on motorcycles, ATVs, and SSVs in all situations and speeds.
Immediately following the Coronial inquest recommendations of 2015, the FCAI developed a selection tool to allow users to make an informed decision on vehicle choice.
This 5 Star ATV User Guide assists purchasers to choose the most appropriate vehicle based on:
- Selecting the vehicle best suited to the task;
- Consideration of the terrain on which it will be ridden/driven;
- Experience and fitness of riders; and
- The types of loads carried, and whether passengers will be transported.
The industry selection criteria determines that in some cases an ATV will not be the most ‘fit-for-purpose’ vehicle, and a farmer may be directed to choose a side by side or other type of vehicle.
A recent media comment by the author of a University of NSW proposed rating system described their system as “. . . shovel ready and we can start tomorrow.”
This statement flies in the face of Coronial findings and the author’s admissions made in Court, with the Queensland Coroner clearly stating “. . . more work needs to be done before it can be properly implemented” and urged an evidence-based approach, with industry consultation.
The ATV industry is concerned that Crush Protection Devices (CPDs) may instil riders with a false sense of security and has completed a significant body of scientific research to show CPDs can cause as many injuries as they may prevent. As a result, industry efforts have been focused on recognised safety practices which are known to improve rider outcomes.
The FCAI has been actively promoting safe use through its network of dealers, but also in conjunction with Queensland Work Health and Safety at farm expos and safety displays. The industry will continue to cooperate on the promotion of safe practice, and looks forward to engaging with Safe Work Australia to work on Star Ratings and vehicle standards as requested by the Coroners.