17 Dec 2014 | Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee
A report into the deaths of children in motorcycle, quad bike and other ‘off-road vehicle’ accidents is calling for cross-sector collaboration to tackle what is the country’s second largest cause of recreational death for those aged under 15.
The report from the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee, which operates under the umbrella of the Health Quality & Safety Commission, shows that on average three children aged under 15 die a year in off-road vehicle accidents.
In 2002–2012, 33 children were killed, nearly half of whom were using the vehicle recreationally. Only swimming and other water activities led to more recreational deaths of children.
Of the 33 children:
‘Too often, parents and caregivers fail to recognise the dangers these powerful machines pose for children,’ says committee chair Dr Felicity Dumble.
‘Inexperience, inadequate physical size and strength, as well as immature motor and cognitive development, all add to the risks for children. Risks are further increased when vehicles are used outside the scope of the manufacturer’s design and safety guidelines.’
Dr Dumble says while recent emphasis has focused on reducing quad bike deaths and injury, the report shows motorcycle deaths to be an equally significant issue.
Key sector stakeholders consulted during the development of the report included Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, the Motor Industry Association of New Zealand, the Motor Trade Association, Yamaha Motor, WorkSafe New Zealand, Police, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Among the report’s messages to parents and caregivers are:
The report makes a number of policy recommendations, including:
When developing these and other recommendations, says Dr Dumble, the aim was to acknowledge what is reasonable, achievable and acceptable while challenging behaviours and attitudes associated with unacceptable risk for our children and young people.
‘During our consultations for the report, we learned there is no one simple solution to these issues. They require a multi-faceted response and further discussion across the sector about the value and viability of the different options.’
A copy of the report, Child and youth mortality from motorcycle, quad bike and motorised agricultural vehicle use with a focus on deaths under age 15 years, is available below.