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“We want you to come back”

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Parks officials are teaming up with University of Utah Health Care to try to keep state residents safe as they play outdoors this Pioneer Day weekend.

Experts say driving drunk, driving distracted and driving untrained can all lead to crashes on off-highway vehicles, and riding without a helmet puts you at risk of injury or death.

Chris Haller, OHV program coordinator at the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, says their mission is simple.

“We want you to come back,” he says, as he demonstrated safety gear and its importance. “We don’t want our customers to be their customers.”

“Their” customers are people being treated at the University of Utah by Dr. Toby Enniss, who says the average person to suffer a traumatic brain injury is a 40-year-old man, who either is not in the habit of wearing a helmet or doesn’t like wearing one.

“Helmets have been proven to decrease the risk of a life-threatening injury by 30 percent,” Dr. Enniss reports.


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OHV riders at the Jordan River OHV State Recreation Area

OHV Injury Facts
• On average, there are 14 fatalities each year in Utah.
• Between 2014-2016, the hospital saw a total of 166 OHV injuries, accounting for 3% of their total trauma-related injuries.
• University of Utah Hospital reports the average age of those coming in with OHV-related injuries is 39-40 years old.
• Approximately 13.25% of these incidents were alcohol related. These injuries carried with them a 1.8% mortality rate.
• In Utah, only 58% of Utah riders surveyed report they frequently wear helmets when riding their OHV.
• Only 38% of riders surveyed report their children had completed the required OHV certification course, even though 88% reported they were aware of the law.
• Only 24% of injured riders at the hospital were wearing protective devices.