Safety regulations may tighten – August 14, 2006
August 14, 2006
Filed under Features
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken an initial step to change federal ATV safety and manufacturing standards.
The new standards, if ultimately approved, would:
The CPSC staff is hashing out some of the details of their proposal, including those affecting mandatory safety classes.
“Of course, it’s an issue of rural and suburban and what a reasonable distance for one as opposed to another,” Wolfson said, referring to the requirement that classes be a reasonable time and distance away from the dealership.
He said talks are ongoing with groups interested in safety training.
“Right now there are three major players in safety training; there’s the SVIA, the OEMs and the states. We really need to research this before we reach the final stage, before we get the final rule into shape.”
The three CPSC commissioners unanimously approved the changes — outlined in a 440-page document — on July 12. They also asked the commission’s staff to examine several of their questions.
Also at the hearing, the CPSC rejected a request by anti-ATV groups to ban the sale of full-size ATVs for use by children under 16. The petition was filed by the Consumer Federation of America, Bluewater Network and the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition. The petition goes against current CPSC thinking that the earlier an ATV rider gets safety training, the fewer injuries children will suffer.
With the commissioners’ approval, the CPSC will begin a 75-day public comment period that will start early this month. After the comment period ends, the staff will review the comments, answer the commissioners’ questions and bring a new report to the commission sometime in 2007.
The commissioners came up with five questions of their own:
ATV manufacturers and interest groups are watching the CPSC process closely.
“We’ve followed the consent decree and we’re still following it,” said Roger Hagie, director of public affairs for Kawasaki. The decree, created in 1988, was a voluntary agreement by ATV manufacturers to adhere to manufacturing and safety standards. That agreement ended in 1998, but major manufacturers are still abiding by the agreement. “If you incorporate these standards into the (CPSC) process, that’s a good place to start,” he said.
Tim Buche, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America’s president, said the proposal is based largely on the voluntary standards, which ATV companies are in the process of updating.
“We expect that these updated standards will again be the basis for any final mandatory rule,” Buche said. He did not define the standards being updated.
The issue is a timely one, Hagie said. “If you look at new entrants’ products, they’re not meeting safety standards.”
Hagie said the CPSC and the industry are feeling their way on many of these issues. He said input during the comment period “is absolutely recommended.”
Buche said ATV companies will closely review and comment on the proposed rules. The ATV community “continues to support federal legislation that requires all ATVs to meet minimum uniform safety standards. Such legislation will provide immediate protections for U.S. consumers.” psb