Collaboration key in reducing child off-road vehicle deaths

  • Peter Dunne

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has welcomed a cross-sector report aimed at reducing child deaths in motorcycle, quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents.

The report from the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee, which operates under the umbrella of the Health Quality & Safety Commission, found that 33 children aged under 15 were killed in off-road vehicle accidents between 2002 and 2012. Of these,

  • 15 were on motorcycles, 12 on quad bikes
  • 22 were operating the vehicle themselves
  • 26 died off-road, seven on-road.

Nearly half of these casualties were using the vehicle recreationally, with only swimming and other water activities leading to more recreational deaths of children.

Children in rural areas were four times more likely to die than those in urban areas.

“The report makes a number of recommendations, including that a single agency take responsibility for off-road vehicle child and youth injury prevention and lead cross-sector planning, implementation and evaluation of safety interventions”, says Mr Dunne.

“Federated Farmers, the Motor Industry Association of New Zealand, Police, Coronial Services, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Accident Compensation Corporation are just some of the organisations that provided input during the preparation of this report.

“This problem is multi-faceted and requires a multi-faceted response. I look forward to these agencies continuing to work together on measures to reduce harm”, Mr Dunne said.

The report contains safety advice, including that helmets should always be worn, children under 16 should never operate an adult-sized quad bike, and a child on a quad bike should be supervised at all times by an adult who has the training, skills and experience to use it safely.

Child and youth mortality from motorcycle, quad bike and motorised agricultural vehicle use, with a focus on deaths under age 15 years is available at