CPSC Lead Ban: MIC General Counsel Paul Vitrano Discusses the Impact

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The recent letter-writing campaign pushed by the MIC and the SVIA to change the ban on youth ATVs and dirtbikes found a ready group of supporters at Dealer Expo.

More than 3,000 signed letters had been collected by Sunday afternoon in support of exclusions for the powersports industry. MIC representatives plan to deliver these letters to the CPSC on Tuesday; they also will send copies to Congressional leaders, urging them to support the associations’ request for powersports exclusions.

Industry members and enthusiasts also have sent thousands of e-mails to Congress through www.arra-access.com and other letter-generating Web sites.

“We are strongly encouraging all show attendees to visit the MIC Booth 4705 to sign letters and send e-mails to weigh in on behalf of the industry and its customers,” says Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the MIC. “After the show, everyone should visit www.mic.org to continue to express support for the powersports industry's requests for relief and to obtain updates on the status of the situation.”

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) bans products made for children if the products, including youth quads and dirtbikes, do not comply with certain safety requirements. On Saturday, the CPSC approved the sale of vehicles designed for 12- to 15 year-old riders, units that had been previously banned under the CPSIA.

The CPSC says it has been working feverishly to enforce the provisions of the law without placing unfair burdens on the Powersports industry. However, Vitrano says the industry “has obtained no relief from the CPSC yet.

“The CPSC's recent statements simply verbally clarify that CPSC staff believes that Y12+ ATVs are not subject to the law,” Vitrano says. “Numerous other youth products with lead content in excess of the limits remain prohibited from sale.”

“We have heard the voices of those throughout the industry and those who are riders,” says CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson. “We’re working as hard as we can as an agency.”

Wolfson said the commission is working on petitions submitted by MIC/SVIA. “We really want to calm down dealers,” he said. In the meantime, he recommends that dealers remove youth models off their show floors and put them into holding areas.

“It’s only been a matter of days since we received the industry’s petitions,” Wolfson explained. “We’re dealing with more than ATVs; we’re dealing with every single product for children under 12. We need a little bit more time to process the petitions and make assessments. We want our decisions to be based upon sound legal judgments.”

Vitrano remains skeptical. “The industry and its customers cannot afford to calm down,” he said. “We have products that are prohibited for no good reason, and we have demonstrated that they should be excluded under the law. Plus, we are very concerned that this ban will end up driving youth to ride vehicles too big for them to operate safely.”

– Joe Delmont