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April 23, 2007 – SVIA mulling new safety standards

April 23, 2007
Filed under Features

In what could be a taste of upcoming rules from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) is poised to release new design, configuration and performance standards for its members in the ATV industry.
The standards, typically updated every five years, are designed to improve safety for ATV riders of all ages. Their creation, a year-long process, is a collaborative effort that combines recommendations and feedback from 27 participants across the industry, including a representative from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
While there has been collaboration between the SVIA and CPSC, which are both simultaneously developing ATV standards, the SVIA’s new standards will preclude the CPSC’s mandatory regulations, which will be federally enforced. SVIA standards are required by SVIA members, but not legally enforced.
CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said the commission “will be analyzing that situation to see how that impacts on the work we are doing.”
While the CPSC’s upcoming rules will be legally binding, Tom Yager, SVIA’s vice president of safety programs, said the SVIA’s standards will maintain relevance because the SVIA will more closely reflect the current marketplace.
The current draft of the SVIA standards include specifications for two new categories of ATVs, with the intent of providing machines that appeal to younger riders so that youths will ride appropriately sized ATVs, rather than full-size adult machines. Standards for two-passenger ATVs, a growing segment of the industry, also will be included for the first time and will include provisions for both passenger handholds and footrests.
The SVIA also will include specifications for a transition model, referred to as Category T, which is a slightly downsized ATV for riders 14 years of age or older that will have a maximum top speed of 38 mph and can be limited to either 20-30 mph.
In addition, the standard will include specifications for a youth-model ATV, referred to as Category Y-10-plus, intended for use by children 10 years of age or older.
The limited speed for the Y-10+ model is 15 mph, set by an adult with a toll, with a maximum speed of 30 mph.
The standards for the youngest group, the 6-plus age group, would include a maximum unrestricted speed of 15 mph and a maximum restricted speed of 10 mph.
“What we see from a safety perspective is kids operating adult-sized ATVs,” Yager said. “One of our goals certainly in putting forward this revised youth category and transitional model is an attempt to get youths off adult-sized ATVs and on to a youth category product.”
Yager added that the new standard will be completed by the end of 2007 and should eventually lead to greater product offerings in the market, specifically with a wider range of products for youth riders.
Hang Tags
SVIA-compliant machines will be required to carry visible certification labels, signifying models that meet the new standards — similar to Snell or DOT-approved helmets.
Yager said his organization’s upcoming standard is a more significant update than the ANSI/SVIA 1-2001 standard, which has been in place since 2001.
“Probably the two biggest things in terms of this revision have been the addition of Type II ATVs, which are tandems … and the re-categorization to include an expanded youth category and a transition model,” Yager said.
Other changes for 2007 include permitting lighting for youth ATVs for the first time, specific requirements for owner’s manuals and uniform dealer hang tag standards.
The hang tags would include a statement advising consumers to check with dealers for information on rider training and state or area laws affecting quad usage.
SVIA, an accredited standards developer by the American National Standards Institute, receives input from a variety of perspectives. The current round of standards creation included 27 participants, consisting of dealers, engineering, research and testing personnel, general interest consumer advocates, the media, federal and state government agencies, non-U.S. governments, producers and distributors, trade associations and users. psb

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