Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Traffic Safety Risks Among Adolescent ATV Users in Norway

Thomas Wolda, Jan Petter Wigumb, Özlem Simsekogluc, Trond Hansend and An-Magritt Steinset Kummenejee

Nord University. Norway.


All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are commonly used by adolescents in rural Norway, but there has been little research on their driving behavior and accident rates. This project seeks to investigate common traits of adolescents' ATV use and how social norms affect risk-taking behavior.

Research on ATV use from several countries reveals a high accident rate with severe injuries and fatalities, for both work-related use and leisure use, and the majority of victims are male (Lin & Blessing, 2018; Lower, Peachey, & Fragar, 2022). Studies show that young drivers tend to overestimate their driving skills and underestimate the risks of ATV use (Adams, Aitken, Mullins, Miller, & Graham, 2013). Teenagers, particularly males, are more prone to risk-taking behavior than adults (Denning & Jennissen, 2016), and peer pressure and group norms are important factors (K. Nilsson, 2016). Statistics from Norway show a high increase in ATV accidents in the last decade, and that the majority of victims are male teenagers (Iversen & Njå, 2022).

The data in this study consist of focus group interviews with young ATV users and their parents in separate sessions at four different locations in Norway, which were small towns or rural areas with a high rate of ATV use. The interviews focused on their opinions about safety, driving behavior, modifying the ATVs, and social aspects of ATV use. Preliminary analyses suggest that it is quite common to modify an ATV to make it drive faster than the law permits. They think this is safer, as it enables them to avoid being passed by cars in a dangerous manner when driving on public roads. The respondents' fathers seemed to be more aware of this than their mothers, but don't see it as a problem.

The purpose of the project is to contribute to the development of safety courses and other safety measures for ATV users and to give advice on public regulations.

Keywords: ATV, UTV, Risk-taking, Group norms, Power increase, Driving behavior.

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