OEMs Respond to Call for Mandatory UTV Standard

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Earlier this week, Dealernews reported that the staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal regulator of off-road vehicles, had recommended that the agency start the process for creating a mandatory safety standard for higher-speed UTVs (designated by the agency as recreational off-highway vehicles, or ROVs).

The staff also noted that it had rejected a draft of a voluntary standard presented to it by the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA), a nonprofit association founded by Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris and Yamaha.

ROHVA today released the following response to the move:

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) is disappointed that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a ballot vote on the agency's staff recommendation to proceed with a rulemaking process for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) by publishing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR).

ROHVA believes this action is premature as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) development process for ROVs is currently underway. The ANSI standard development process requires involvement from a variety of interests. Participants involved in the process, from the U.S. and Canada, include CPSC and other government representatives, industry, consumers and others, and those participants will reach consensus on an appropriate ANSI standard for ROV equipment, configuration and performance requirements.

ROHVA has met and communicated with CPSC as part of the ANSI process. Following the first meeting in December 2008, ROHVA made several modifications to the standard based on CPSC’s comments at this initial meeting. Formal comments to the initial draft standard were due on July 13, 2009. CPSC submitted no comments prior to this deadline, then submitted a letter dated August 7, 2009, requesting new changes to the draft standard regarding stability, vehicle handling and occupant retention and protection. In response, ROHVA submitted a letter to CPSC dated August 14, 2009 requesting any data, research or analysis supporting the CPSC staff’s recommendations. To date, CPSC has yet to respond to ROHVA’s request and no additional information was provided to ROHVA or in the CPSC staff briefing package. While awaiting a response from the CPSC to our request, ROHVA retained a nationally known independent expert on vehicle dynamics to evaluate the comments from CPSC staff in order to continue the ANSI process with the benefit of additional expertise. ROHVA expects to issue a revised draft standard, incorporating many participant suggestions, in the coming days.

We are confident that through continued discussion and information sharing, an appropriate standard that reflects the input from all parties can be developed through the ANSI process. We look forwarding to continuing to work with CPSC and other parties in these efforts.

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, Polaris and Yamaha. For more information visit www.rohva.org.