As expected, industry push-back came soon after new rules were enacted by the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission for the regulation of recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). To highlight some of that industry reaction to new ROV rules, I’ve included a statement by the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association trade group.
“The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is extremely disappointed that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today voted 3 – 2 to begin the process for a rule imposing a mandatory product standard for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), commonly referred to as side-by-sides.
The proposed rule relies heavily on CPSC assumptions, rather than on scientific conclusions drawn from relevant testing or incident data. In fact, the agency acknowledges that it has no data indicating that vehicles meeting the proposed rule’s stability and handling requirements will be safer than vehicles that do not meet the requirements:
‘Although the Commission believes that the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements will reduce the number of deaths and injuries involving ROVs, it is not possible to quantify this benefit because we do not have sufficient data to estimate the injury rates of models that already meet the requirements and models that do not meet the requirements. Thus, we cannot estimate the potential effectiveness of the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements in preventing injuries.’ (Page 131 of NPR Briefing Package.)
In addition, the CPSC’s proposed rule would inappropriately apply design- restrictive standards developed for on-highway vehicles, without ensuring that those principles apply in off-highway environments. The rule also ignores the risks of unintended consequences for vehicle users.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) last month approved a robust voluntary standard (ANSI/ROHVA 1-2014) for ROVs that addressed CPSC concerns. This updated standard was developed following several years of discussions with the CPSC regarding concerns the CPSC had expressed with the previous Standard (1- 2011). As of today, the CPSC has not fully or fairly considered the new ANSI/ROHVA 1- 2014 Standard.
ROVs are well-designed and safe when operated properly. The proposed rule, if ultimately approved, would limit the ability of ROV manufacturers to design vehicles to safely provide the level of performance that is expected by OHV enthusiasts. ROHVA and its member companies will have no choice but to contest the proposed rule in order to help ensure that vehicles appropriate for off-highway environments are available to consumers across the nation.
The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is a national industry organization that promotes the safe and responsible use of ROVs. ROHVA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop equipment, configuration and performance standards. Based in Irvine, Calif., the not-for-profit association is sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, John Deere, Kawasaki, Polaris and Yamaha. For more information visit rohva.org.”
The industry reaction to new ROV rules is understandable: not only do the new regulations and the discussion thereof create bad press for the industry, they also will require manufacturer’s adherence to higher standards, raising costs of production.
However, safety should remain the chief interest of these businesses. If a federal safety commission finds ways in which ROVs could be made safer, one might think that the industry reaction to new ROV rules would be to embrace them as raising public safety. Here’s the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association’s mission statement:
“The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) was formed to promote the safe and responsible use of recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) manufactured or distributed in North America. ROHVA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop a standard for the equipment, configuration and performance requirements of ROVs. Based in Irvine, Calif., the not-for-profit trade association is sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, John Deere, Kawasaki, Polaris, and Yamaha.” (emphasis added)
Is this organization really doing all it can to promote safety, or is it more likely that the organization seeks to avoid financial distress for its member companies? What interest does the CPSC have in taking down the ROV industry? For those scientists and bureaucrats on government wage, what’s the motivation to sling mud at ROHVA? I don’t mean these questions rhetorically, I’ll research this next.
If and when more grounding for the statements by the ROHVA can be elucidated, I’ll update you further. Thanks for reading!