Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 509–514 | Cite as

The characteristics of all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths: A forensic autopsy data-based study

  • Peter T. LinEmail author
  • Melissa M. Blessing
Original Article


Using forensic autopsy-based data from a regional medical examiner office in the midwestern U.S. with a mixed small urban-rural population, we describe the characteristics of all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths occurring between 2000 and 2018. During this period, there were 25 ATV-related deaths. There was a strong male predominance with 22 male and 3 female decedents. The average age at death was 35 years, with a range from 10 to 82 years, and a bimodal age distribution with one peak at 10–19 years old, and a second peak at 60–69 years old. The most common cause of death was blunt trauma (n = 22), with the remainder being torso compression (n = 1), drowning (n = 1) and hypothermia (n = 1). Of the 22 blunt trauma deaths, 15 were due to head trauma. The most common mechanism of accident was roll-over (n = 11), followed by striking a stationary object (n = 6). Of the stationary objects struck, the most common was cable wire fencing accounting for 3 of the 6. A survival period following discovery of the body was present in 11 of the 25 deaths. Postmortem toxicology was positive for ethanol in 7 deaths and tramadol in 1 death.


All-terrain vehicle ATV Off-road Death Forensic Autopsy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This project was submitted for IRB approval and was determined to be exempt from review (retrospective review, deceased individuals).

Informed consent

Not required (retrospective review of records, deceased individuals).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner Office (SMRMEO)RochesterUSA

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