COLUMBIA, Mo. - In Missouri, all-terrain vehicles accounted for at least 111 accidents with 19 fatalities in 2007, according to a University of Missouri study.

"The vast majority of ATV incidents occurred because of the operator's disregard for safe vehicle practices and operating procedures," said Ryan Saucier, MU doctoral student in agricultural systems management.

"ATV safety programs should be developed in every community where ATVs are used for recreational or employment purposes," he said.

Data for the study came from press clippings compiled by the Missouri Press Association. The actual number of incidents is probably higher, Saucier said. "Not all incidents were likely reported to civil authorities or to local newspapers."

Male operators accounted for 84 percent of reported ATV accidents. A third of the incidents involved an operator between the ages of 7 and 18.

Children under 16 do not possess the cognitive, perceptual and motor skills necessary to safely operate an adult-sized ATV, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ninety-two percent of reported accidents occurred in rural areas. About 68 percent of these incidents occurred on paved roads.

Howell County ranked first in ATV accidents, with nine incidents in 2007.

The Missouri study was part of a larger effort by the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa.

A free copy of MU Extension guide G1936, "All-Terrain Vehicles," is available at MU Extension centers or online at