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Ability of Youth to Activate Agricultural All-Terrain Vehicles’ Main Controls

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100046.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100046)
Authors:   Guilherme De Moura Araujo, Farzaneh Khorsandi, Anusheh Abdullah
Keywords:   ATV, crashes, ergonomics, incidents, safety, resistance forces, youth.

Abstract. All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) cause a staggering number of fatalities and injuries among children in rural communities in the United States. For instance, there were 52 fatalities and 26 nonfatal injuries among youths operating ATVs on American farms in 2015. Previous studies indicated that children are more vulnerable to injuries than adults because of their less-developed physical and behavioral characteristics. Particularly, one study demonstrated that youths could only activate a few tractor controls due to their strength limitations. Thus, it has been hypothesized that youths are often involved in ATV crashes because of these limitations concerning the activation forces of ATVs‘ controls. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate potential discrepancies between youths‘ strength and the activation forces of Agricultural ATVs‘ controls. This study aimed to compare children‘s strength with the forces required to activate the four most used ATV controls (foot-brakes, hand-brakes, handlebar, and throttle lever). A button load cell, a handheld force gauge, and a pressure glove were used to measure the activation forces of the ATV controls. In total, 38 utility ATVs and male youths from three age groups (6 – 11, 12 – 15, and 16 – 20 years old) and three strength percentiles (5th, 50th, and 95th) were evaluated. Preliminary results demonstrate a mismatch between the activation forces of ATVs‘ controls and children‘s strength. Our findings indicated that children under 16 years old are not strong enough to safely steer the handlebars of 24% of the evaluated ATVs. The inability to steer the handlebar makes it difficult to control the vehicle, thus increasing the risk of crashes. The results were even more striking for small (5th percentile) children under 11 years of age, as 93% of the ATVs presented activation forces above the youth‘s corresponding strength. These discrepancies compromise the youths‘ capability to ride the ATVs, which places them at an increased risk of crashes.

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