Production of certain youth ATVs could halt due to testing requirement

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The same law that created last year’s “lead ban” could soon force the manufacturers to stop making Y6 and Y10 youth ATVs altogether.

The CPSC is set to vote this week on whether it will extend by 60 days the date by which OEMs and importers must begin using accredited third-party laboratories to certify that these units meet federal standards. The current deadline was Nov. 26.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 makes mandatory the SVIA/ANSI ATV standard that had been voluntary.

The CPSIA also dictates that eventually all children’s products subject to a product safety rule will require third-party testing. So while manufacturers may continue to use in-house testing for certifying adult ATVs, they are scrambling to find third-party labs for Y6 and Y10 models. The OEMs could also choose to create their own “third-party” labs through a process called firewalling.

On Aug. 27, the CPSC published accreditation requirements for the labs. The CPSIA dictates that 90 days after this publication, the agency had to require third-party testing for all ATVs intended primarily for children 12 and younger.

Because no such labs exist yet, the SVIA petitioned the agency for the 60-day extension allowed for by the CPSIA, which doesn’t condone further extensions.

The SVIA notes in its petition that it’s unlikely that there will be enough labs even by the new deadline, Jan. 26. It thus asks the CPSC to “consider other forms of relief, such as a further stay of enforcement of these requirements for one year until November 27, 2011.”

The ballots for this week’s vote are due Wednesday. The CPSC is considering only the 60-day extension, but if it’s passed, the commission will invite comments on the one-year stay. The types of comments sought are outlined in the CPSC ballot (click here to read it and the SVIA’s petition).

Still in effect is the ban on all vehicles intended primarily for kids 12 and under that contain too much accessible lead. The CPSC, however, has issued a stay of enforcement regarding motorcycles and ATVs until May 11, 2011.

Unfortunately, the stay does not prevent officials at the state level from enforcing the ban, but manufacturers — many of which have also relabeled units or, in some cases, made structural changes — continue to offer youth-sized vehicles. The OEMs likely will stop selling the illegal units once the stay ends May 11, making the third-party testing requirement a moot point. This is why the industry continues to seek a permanent solution to the lead ban through legislation.