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U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman to Hold ATV Meeting In Anchorage, Alaska

WASHINGTON, June 24 -- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Hal Stratton will conduct a regional public field meeting on All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 8, 2003.

"We want to hear from Alaskans -- how they use their ATVs -- and get their perspective on ATV safety issues," said Stratton.

The commission is aware of 83 ATV-related deaths in Alaska between 1982 and 2001. Nationally, the commission has reports of 4,541 people who died on ATVs during that period. The death rate in recent years has climbed, with commission staff estimating 547 deaths associated with the use of ATVs in 2000 alone.

ATV injuries requiring an emergency room visit have more than doubled in recent years -- from an estimated 54,700 in 1997 to 111,700 in 2001. In this same period, the estimated number of ATV drivers increased 36 percent, driving hours grew 50 percent and the number of ATVs increased 40 percent, according to a recent commission staff analysis. About a third of the victims injured in 2001 were under 16 years old.

"We are concerned about the disproportionate increase in the numbers of deaths and injuries associated with ATV use in recent years, and we hope this meeting will help us better understand why death and injury rates are up," Stratton said.

The full commission held a similar meeting in June at Morgantown, W.V., where more than 30 people representing riders, dealers, training organizations, the medical community, law enforcement officers, family members of victims of ATV-related incidents and others presented their viewpoints.

"We were extremely pleased with the response at the West Virginia meeting. As we had hoped, the presenters provided us a local perspective on this issue that would have been nearly impossible to achieve if we had limited our meetings to Washington D.C. Given the unique uses and the importance of ATVs to many Alaskans -- especially rural Alaskans -- we wanted to make sure that we get the Alaska perspective on ATV use. We'd like to hear from as many Alaskans as possible on this issue," Stratton said.

The Consumer Federation of America and other groups petitioned the commission in September 2002 to ban adult-size, four-wheel ATVs sold for the use of children under the age of 16. The commission sought written public comments on the petition from October 2002 through March 16, 2003. The Alaska meeting will provide an additional opportunity for the public to express its views about this petition, and about ATV use and safety.

Requests to make oral presentations at the chairman's meeting may be made to Lizzy Gary by phone at (301) 504-7908, by fax at (301) 504-0768, or via email to egary@cpsc.govmailto:rhammond@cpsc.gov. Requests to testify received before July 3, 2003 will be given first priority. Where possible, presenters are asked to provide the text of the presentation in advance of the meeting. Persons with PowerPoint presentations should provide an advance copy.

The meeting will be held on July 8, 2003 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Loussac Public Library, 3600 Denali St., Anchorage, Alaska.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products -- such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals -- contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270 or visit CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.