ATV Coalition Applauds CPSC Improvement Act

Part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (H.R. 4040) that we have been reporting on and that was passed by the House of Representatives July 30, includes an <"">ATV safety provision that creates a mandatory safety standard for ATVs.  The Senate is expected to approve the bill, and President Bush is expected to sign the legislation this month.

The Coalition for Safe and Responsible ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) Use—comprised of BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, and Yamaha, “applauded Congress for requiring all companies that import or sell all-terrain vehicles in the United States to comply with the same vehicle safety standards and to implement the same training and other safety initiatives that established ATV manufacturers have followed for years.”  In a statement, the group said, “These standards and programs are vital to ensure the safety of American ATV riders.  We thank Senators Klobuchar, Pryor, and Stevens and the other House and Senate conferees for their support in ensuring that this important ATV safety provision was included in the final Consumer Product Safety bill.”

Established ATV manufacturers—collaborating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and through the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA)–developed a voluntary ATV standard that was introduced with the support of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  ATV manufacturers have agreed to implement and follow “ATV Safety Action Plans” that were accepted by CPSC.  The ANSI/SVIA standards and Action Plans address safety issues that include “appropriate configuration and performance aspects of ATVs, speed restrictions on youth ATVs, free hands-on training programs, and promotion of helmets and other proper gear.”   Established manufacturers are also expected to provide cash or product incentives for new ATV purchasers who complete the training course as part of the new standard.

The coalition notes that in recent years, nontraditional, nonestablished ATV companies, generally from China, have entered the market in “growing numbers.”  Because of this, more and more, ATV recalls are occurring with thousands recalled for dangerous safety issues, such as missing brakes, brake defects, and speed control problems, to name a few.  Many such manufacturers are noncompliance with ANSI/SVIA standards and, worse, refuse to implement comprehensive safety action plans with the CPSC.  The coalition estimates sales of these noncompliant ATVs comprise about one-third of all new sales in the US.  Unfortunately, noncompliant companies market many of their products directly to those most vulnerable to safety risks:  Children aged 16 and younger.  “Many non-traditional ATVs do not adhere to even minimal safety requirements, nor do the companies provide training or safety information,” said coalition spokesman Ed Krenik.  “The poor quality of many of these ATVs create a danger for all ATV riders, particularly young riders, who are being targeted by these companies.”

According to Occupational Health & Safety Online, “The ATV provision codifies the current voluntary standards and Action Plans.  In effect, the bill creates immediate mandatory standards for all ATVs sold in the United States, both imported and domestic.”

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