The death toll from quad bike incidents has reached record highs recently, with at least 23 people killed nationally from such incidents throughout 2011.
About half of these incidents involved rollovers of the vehicles, with many dying from asphyxiation and/or crush injury, according to Tony Lower, director of the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety.
He noted that the quad bike industry’s own data on the effectiveness of crush protection devices illustrates that the one commercially available crush protection device in Australia does have some benefits in reducing injuries.
However, he called into question the information provided by the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and manufacturers around quad bike crush protection devices.
Lower noted that the accuracy of the FCAI’s early anti-crush protection campaign has been the subject of an investigation by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC found that the campaign may have contravened the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of the Competition and Consumers Act (2010).
“The big question here is what has happened in the three months since the FCAI were advised on this issue by the ACCC,” he said.
“One thing we know for sure is that during this time a further 11 people have died on quad bikes, several of which have involved rollovers that may have been prevented by fitting a crush protection device,” Lower said.
There are steps that can be taken to reduce deaths and serious injuries on quad bikes, but he said the FCAI and manufacturers simply have to do better as “every delay will result in more preventable deaths”.