ATV Safety Legislation Introduced by Senator Ted Stevens

IRVINE, Calif.--The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) endorsed important ATV safety legislation introduced today by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and called for its quick enactment by Congress. The All-Terrain Vehicle Standards and Compliance Act of 2007 would require all ATV manufacturers, whether domestic or foreign, to comply with the same basic industry safety standards, and to provide adequate training, safety information and product support under U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved plans.

We applaud Senator Stevens for introducing legislation that addresses the urgent need to ensure the safety of ATV riders, particularly children, by regulating ATVs being sold by manufacturers new to the U.S. market that do not meet minimum safety standards, said SVIA President Tim Buche.

In June 2006, Buche testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety, and Insurance urging Congress to enact this legislation. At that hearing, SVIA also released a report conducted by two former CPSC staff engineers who examined four youth model ATVs manufactured in China and marketed for use by children under 16. Their analysis revealed a host of dangerous safety problems with these ATVs. The two former CPSC experts recommended that three of the four ATVs analyzed should be recalled from the market immediately because of safety violations.

More than a year after the Senate hearing, new entrants continue to flood the U.S. market with hundreds of thousands of non-compliant ATVs. A recent study found that new entrant ATV sales doubled in the last year and now account for nearly one-third of the market, and that estimated 2007 sales will likely top that. In May 2007, CPSC conducted a voluntary recall of one of the units SVIA analyzed in its report and issued a safety warning to consumers on a second.

Major manufacturers and distributors of ATVs in the United States work closely with the CPSC on safety programs and adhere to voluntary action plans filed with the agency that include free hands-on training through the ATV Safety Institute, restrictions on marketing and sale of adult-sized ATVs to children, undercover investigations to ensure dealer compliance with youth ATV sales restrictions, and comprehensive safety programs.

In contrast, virtually none of the new entrant ATV companies adhere to even minimal safety requirements. SVIA has contacted many of these new entrant companies, provided copies of the safety standards, and encouraged participation in the safety programs offered by the established ATV companies. With the exception of those member companies that have joined SVIA in recent years, SVIA has had virtually no response from these companies.

SVIA endorses this legislation because it is critical to the safety of our customers, particularly young riders, to make the voluntary industry standards, responsible ATV practices and the offer of free training with purchase mandatory for any ATV sold in the U.S., concluded Buche.

Since 1983, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America has promoted the safe and responsible use of All-Terrain Vehicles through rider training programs, public awareness campaigns, and state legislation. The SVIA also serves as a resource for ATV research, statistics, and vehicle standards. The SVIA, based in Irvine, Calif., is a not-for-profit trade association sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Bush Hog, Honda, John Deere, Kawasaki, KTM, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin and Yamaha. For membership information, call 949-727-3727; for safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org and click on Online Enrollment or call 800-887-2887.

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