On October 29 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3-2 to move forward on a proposed rule to impose a mandatory product standard for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), commonly referred to as side-by-sides. The proposed rule, if ultimately approved, would limit the ability of ROV manufacturers to design vehicles to safely provide the level of performance that is expected by OHV enthusiasts.
CPSC voted to move forward despite the fact that the proposed rule relies heavily on CPSC assumptions, rather than on scientific conclusions drawn from relevant testing or incident data. In addition, CPSC’s proposed rule would inappropriately apply standards developed for on-highway vehicles, without ensuring that those principles apply in off-highway environments. The rule also ignores the risk of unintended consequences for vehicle users. Page 131 of the CPSC’s briefing package emphasizes the proposed rule’s fundamental weakness:
“Although the Commission believes that the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements will reduce the number of deaths and injuries involving ROVs, it is not possible to quantify this benefit because we do not have sufficient data to estimate the injury rates of models that already meet the requirements and models that do not meet the requirements. Thus, we cannot estimate the potential effectiveness of the dynamic lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements in preventing injuries.”
CPSC’s 592-page briefing package can be viewed here.