Today, the Federal Register announced that proposed new regulations for the operation and manufacture of recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) by the Consumer Product Safety Commission will be published tomorrow. These proposed ROV regulations will set safety standards for ROV manufacturers, hopefully making these vehicles safer for all who enjoy them.
The announcement stated,
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined preliminarily that there may be an unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). To address these risks, the Commission proposes a rule that includes: lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements that specify a minimum level of rollover resistance for ROVs and require that ROVs exhibit sublimit understeer characteristics; occupant retention requirements that would limit the maximum speed of an ROV to no more than 15 miles per hour (mph), unless the seat belts of both the driver and front passengers, if any, are fastened, and would require ROVs to have a passive means, such as a barrier or structure, to limit further the ejection of a belted occupant in the event of a rollover; and information requirements.”
In recent years, thousands of ROVs have been recalled for a variety of reasons. For example, in 2012, two thousand Kawasaki ROVs were recalled, because they were “incorrectly labeled as having a higher occupant capacity than is safe. Operating the vehicle with additional occupants creates an injury or death hazard.” (CPSC)
Further, a study from 1988 (a time when ROVs were far less popular than they are now) describes the findings of a team of doctors that saw over 200 patients with ROV injuries in five years at a single hospital: “The musculoskeletal system was most frequently injured (66%) followed by the head and face (25%). There was permanent disability in 10.6%, and 33% of the recreational deaths were in children younger than 16 years. The inherent instability of ATVs was confirmed by the finding that in 60% of accidents the vehicle had rolled or flipped.” (emphasis added)
That study team concluded that “Stricter licensing requirements should be implemented, and public education is required to draw attention to the danger of these vehicles, particularly to children”, stating, “There is a need for proper safety equipment and driver training. The issue of vehicle design must also be addressed by the industries concerned.”
As this story unfolds and the ROV industry fights these new ROV regulations, we’ll update you here with everything you need to know.