SVIA Reps to Testify at CPSC Public Meeting Concerning Petition Requesting Ban of All-Terrain Vehicles Sold for Use of Children under 16 Years Old

IRVINE, Calif.--March 21, 2005--Representatives of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America will be testifying today before the Consumer Product Safety Commission public meeting in Bethesda, Md., concerning the petition requesting ban of all-terrain vehicles sold for use of children under 16 years old.

SVIA agrees with the CPSC staff recommendation released Feb. 4, 2005 that the petition should be denied. The staff recommendation states that, "The CPSC lacks the ability to regulate or enforce how consumers use products after purchase. While the Commission can effect to some degree how ATVs are sold, it cannot control the behavior of consumers or prevent adults from allowing children to ride adult-sized ATVs."

SVIA concurs with CPSC staff that the issue of children under 16 riding adult-sized ATVs is at point of use, not at point of sale. SVIA believes that a three-pronged approach including rider training, parental supervision, and appropriate state safety legislation is the best means to effect change, thus reducing ATV related injuries.

The industry's model legislation, which has served as the basis for many states with comprehensive ATV safety laws, not only advocates safety provisions that codify mandatory helmet use, but, as important, prohibits children under 16 from riding adult-sized ATVs, prohibits passengers, and requires adult supervision, among other safety provisions.

Research has shown that more than 92% of all ATV fatalities involve one or more user behaviors that are strongly and visibly "warned against" by the industry in dealerships, in product literature, in public awareness messages, through rider training, and on the vehicle itself. These risky and irresponsible behaviors include children riding adult-sized ATVs, riding without a helmet, riding with a passenger, riding on public roads, and riding at excessive speed. Furthermore, in crashes involving children, an overwhelming number of injuries are the result of children under 16 riding adult-sized ATVs.

Further evidence regarding state ATV safety legislation was presented at the hearing. One example cited was a comprehensive ATV safety bill that was passed by the New Mexico legislature on March 17 and will be sent to Gov. Richardson for signature. SVIA has been advocating passage of the legislation for the past two legislative sessions and commends the efforts of the bill's sponsor, Sen. Dede Feldman, and the many other groups and individuals who support the bill. SVIA retained a lobbyist in Santa Fe to be an on-site advocate for the industry.

SVIA representatives also participated in previous CPSC held field hearings in New Mexico, West Virginia and Alaska where most of the witnesses advocated education, state legislation with enforcement, and adult supervision as the keys to improving ATV safety.

In addition, ATV manufacturers are proud to be working with Weekly Reader on a new nationwide education program, Protect Yourself. Protect the Planet, funded by ATV manufacturers, promoting all-terrain vehicle safety and environmental-friendly riding. Twenty thousand sets of classroom materials were distributed to middle schools and high schools in specific geographic areas with high ATV use across the country.

The key messages outlined in the program focus on the ATV Safety Institute's Golden Rules of ATV safety. These important guidelines, for both youth and adults, include:

    --  Never ride alone.

    --  Riders under age 16 require adult supervision

    --  Do not carry passengers

    --  Ride an ATV that's right for your age. The guidelines are:

        --  Age 6 and older Under 70cc

        --  Age 12 and older 70cc - 90cc

        --  Age 16 and older Over 90cc

    --  Wear a helmet and protective gear

    --  Plan ahead

    --  Ride only on marked trails

    --  Respect wildlife and habitats

The safe and responsible use of ATVs is the top priority of the ATV industry, and the industry will continue to work with the CPSC, user groups, retail dealerships, and all others interested in promoting ATV safety to further reduce the number of accidents resulting from misuse of the product.

The major ATV manufacturers and distributors -- through the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) or their own dealers -- offer free training to all purchasers of new ATVs and their eligible family members. In fact, most manufacturers offer a $100 cash incentive to first-time purchasers who take training. Consumers can visit ASI's website, www.atvsafety.org or call 1-800-887-2887 for information on training at nearly 1,000 sites in the United States. Since 1988, more than 510,000 riders have taken the half-day, hands-on ASI RiderCourse. In any given week, 200-300 training classes are conducted nationwide by one of 1,500 licensed ASI Instructors.

About ASI

The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute(R) (ASI), a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America(R) (SVIA), was formed in 1988 to implement an expanded national program of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety education and awareness. ASI's primary goal is to promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs, thereby reducing accidents and injuries that may result from improper ATV operation by the rider. For safety information or to enroll in an ATV RiderCourse(SM), call (800) 887-2887 or visit www.atvsafety.org.

About SVIA

Since 1983, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America(R) (SVIA) has promoted the safe and responsible use of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) through rider training programs, public awareness campaigns, and state legislation. SVIA also serves as a resource for ATV research, statistics, and vehicle standards. SVIA, based in Irvine, California, is a not-for-profit trade association sponsored by AlphaSports, Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Honda, John Deere, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. For membership information, call (949) 727-3727; for safety information or to enroll in an ATV RiderCourse(SM), call (800) 887-2887 or visit www.atvsafety.org.

Industry's Model ATV Safety Legislation

The primary safety provisions of the ATV industry's model legislation include:

1. Requires protective gear: All ATV riders are required to wear eye 
protection and an approved safety helmet.

2. Prohibits passengers: The carrying of passengers is not allowed
in any circumstance.

3. Codifies operator age restrictions: No one under age 16 may operate
an adult-sized ATV (engine capacity greater than 90 cc) on public 
land. Youth-sized ATVs (engine capacity 70 cc up to and including 90 
cc) may be operated on public land only by those aged 12 and older.

4. Requires adult supervision: Persons under age 16 must be under
continuous adult supervision while operating an ATV on public land.

5. Promotes education: States must implement a comprehensive ATV
safety education and training program, which provides for the hands-on
training of ATV operators.

6. Establishes safety certification: All persons operating an ATV
on public land must have a safety certificate.

7. Prohibits ATV operation on public roads.

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