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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 17, 2010

Photo: Eileen Fisher, deputy director for Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, distributes ATV "Ride Safe" flags to a farmer at the Farm Progress show.

I-CASH to promote ATV safety during Farm Safety Week

In conjunction with National Farm Safety Week, Sept. 19-25, Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH) will hold a news conference and public education event on all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, at the Hills Bank, 131 Main St. in Hills, Iowa.

The theme for 2010 National Farm Safety Week is "ATVs: Work Smart. Ride Safe."

More than 16 million Americans ride ATVs, and they are commonly used in rural areas, according to the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety. Although ATVs are not intended for use on public roads, Iowa law permits road use for valid agricultural purposes between the hours of sunrise and sunset and at speeds of 35 miles per hour and slower. Farmers often use ATVs to check on livestock, travel between fields or haul feed.

"This creates a hazardous situation on Iowa's hilly rural roads," said Kelley Donham, D.V.M., director of I-CASH and UI professor of occupational and environmental health.

Recalling an incident when a local farmer was killed in an ATV incident, Donham said, "He was riding on his ATV on the road to get to a field when a car topped the hill. They had no chance to stop in time."

The I-CASH event on Sept. 21 is intended to educate both ATV owners and the public about safe ways to operate ATVs and share rural roads. Charles Jennissen, M.D., UI clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, will speak about ATV injuries and injury prevention, and safety experts will be on hand to install ATV flags with the "Ride Safe" logo.

In collaboration with the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, Jennissen tracks ATV crashes through press clippings from the center's upper Midwest area, which includes Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Of the 452 ATV crashes reported in the 2009 press clippings for this area, 17 percent of these crashes involved another ATV or a motor vehicle, and most of these crashes were preventable, Jennissen said.

The event on Sept. 21 is co-sponsored by Stutsman, Inc., Hills Bank and I-CASH. I-CASH is a partnership of the UI College of Public Health, Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Hannah Fletcher, 319-384-4277,; Eileen Fisher, 319-335-4224,