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ROV Regulations Published by CPSC 11/19/2014

— November 21, 2014

As I wrote on Tuesday, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it would propose new ROV regulations, aiming to make these recreational off-highway vehicles more safe.  On Wednesday, the proposal was made formal and was released online.  The full release is available here, and below I have included a few excerpts.

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission or CPSC) is proposing a standard for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). [ ] ROVs are motorized vehicles that combine off-road capability with utility and recreational use. Reports of ROV-related fatalities and injuries prompted the Commission to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in October 2009 to consider whether there may be unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with ROVs. (74 FR 55495 (October 28, 2009)). The ANPR began a rulemaking proceeding under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The Commission received 116 comments in response to the ANPR. The Commission is now issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that would establish requirements for lateral stability, vehicle handling, and occupant protection performance, as well as information requirements. The information discussed in this preamble is derived from CPSC staff’s briefing package for the NPR and from CPSC staff’s supplemental memorandum to the Commission, which are available on CPSC’s Web site at” (emphasis added)

Terms are defined, and products affected by these new regulations are described here: “ROVs are motorized vehicles designed for off-highway use with the following features: Four or more pneumatic tires designed for off-highway use; bench or bucket seats for two or more occupants; automotive-type controls for steering, throttle, and braking; and a maximum vehicle speed greater than 30 miles per hour (mph). ROVs are also equipped with rollover protective structures (ROPS), seat belts, and other restraints (such as doors, nets, and shoulder barriers) for the protection of occupants. ROVs and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are similar in that both are motorized vehicles designed for off-highway use, and both are used for utility and recreational purposes. However, ROVs differ significantly from ATVs in vehicle design. ROVs have a steering wheel instead of a handle bar for steering; foot pedals instead of hand levers for throttle and brake control; and bench or bucket seats rather than straddle seating for the occupant(s). Most importantly, ROVs only require steering wheel input from the driver to steer the vehicle, and the motion of the occupants has little or no effect on vehicle control or stability. In contrast, ATVs require riders to steer with their hands and to maneuver their body front to back and side to side to augment the ATV’s pitch and lateral stability.

Early ROV models emphasized the utility aspects of the vehicles, but the recreational aspects of the vehicles have become very popular. Currently, there are two varieties of ROVs: Utility and recreational. Models emphasizing utility have larger cargo beds, higher cargo capacities, and lower top speeds. Models emphasizing recreation have smaller cargo beds, lower cargo capacities, and higher top speeds. Both utility and recreational ROVs with maximum speed greater than 30 mph are covered by the scope of this NPR.”

Here are a few of the reasons the CPSC has proposed these new ROV regulations.

“After CPSC staff determined that a reported incident resulting in at least one death or injury was ROV-related, a multidisciplinary team reviewed all the documents associated with the incident. The multidisciplinary team was made up of a human factors engineer, an economist, a health scientist, and a statistician. As part of the review process, each member of the review team considered every incident and coded victim characteristics, the characteristics of the vehicle involved, the environment, and the events of the incident. [ ] Below, we discuss the key hazard characteristics that the review identified.

1. Rollover

Of the 428 reported ROV-related incidents, 291 (68 percent) involved rollover of the vehicle, more than half of which occurred while the vehicle was in a turn (52 percent). Of the 224 fatal incidents, 147 (66 percent) involved rollover of the vehicle, and 56 of those incidents (38 percent) occurred on flat terrain. The slope of the terrain is unknown in 39 fatal incidents. A total of 826 victims were involved in the 428 reported incidents, including 231 fatalities and 388 injuries. Of the 231 reported fatalities, 150 (65 percent) died in an incident involving lateral rollover of the ROV. Of the 388 injured victims, 75 (19 percent) were classified as being severely injured; 67 of these victims (89 percent) were injured in incidents that involved lateral rollover of the ROV.

2. Occupant Ejection and Seat Belt Use

From the 428 ROV-related incidents reviewed by CPSC, 817 victims were reported to be in or on the ROV during the incident, and 610 (75 percent) were known to have been injured or killed. Seatbelt use is known for 477 of the 817 victims; of these, 348 (73 percent) were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. Of the 610 fatally and nonfatally injured victims who were in or on the ROV, 433 (71 percent) were partially or fully ejected from the ROV; and 269 (62 percent) of these victims were struck by a part of the vehicle, such as the roll cage or side of the ROV, after ejection. Seat belt use is known for 374 of the 610 victims; of these, 282 (75 percent) were not wearing a seat belt. Of the 225 fatal victims who were in or on the ROV at the time of the incident, 194 (86 percent) were ejected partially or fully from the vehicle, and 146 (75 percent) were struck by a part of the vehicle after ejection. Seat belt use is known for 155 of the 194 ejected victims; of these, 141 (91 percent) were not wearing a seat belt.” (emphasis added)

As this release remains fairly new, industry players have not yet released statements fighting against these proposed ROV regulations.  When the industry responds, even if in support, we will update you here at LegalReader.  Thanks for reading!

US CPSC - ROV Regulations

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