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ATV opponents ask federal safety agency to require ATV seatbelts and rollbars

November 16, 2012

A father and his son riding separate ATVs.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission asked the public to comment on ATV safety following its ATV Safety Summit held Oct. 11-12 in Bethesda, Md., and opponents of ATVs responded in force.

Most of the more than 40 comments received by the federal agency were from people and organizations demanding that children be banned from operating ATVs and drastic measures be taken to make ATVs safer.

What kind of measures?

They want mandatory roll cages, speed limiters, inter-lock systems so that an ATV can’t be started if a person had consumed alcohol and a ban on aftermarket accessories such as rear rack bags.

They also want ATVs to have smaller seats.

“We reaffirm our longstanding recommendation that no child under the age of 16 should operate or ride an ATV,” said a letter signed by 18 doctors and others, including the Consumer Federation of America, Concerned Families for ATV Safety, and ATV Throttle Guard.

The letter also said the federal government should require “engineering solutions to decrease ATV deaths and injuries.”

Those engineering solutions, the letter said, “should include: seat design that prohibits multiple riders and makes age-inappropriate use less likely; ban of aftermarket devices such as ‘storage boxes’ which also facilitate carrying of passengers; design changes to reduce over-steering and under-steering and the related risk of rollover; increased stability and changes to center of gravity to limit the risk of rollover and flipping, [and] rider protective devices…”

They also want “installation of alcohol ignition interlocks, and identifying safe speed limits for adult and youth ATVs” that would be set at the factory.

In separate comments, the Consumer Federation of America said it wants the federal agency to ban ATVs sized for children under the age of 12, and wants short seats on ATVs.

“All ATVs should be equipped with seat belts and standards should create a minimum standard for seat belt integrity,” the Consumer Federation of America added.

“ATVs should be equipped with a roll cage to prevent the driver from being crushed by the weight of the vehicle in the event of a rollover,” the federation said.

You can read the comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=CPSC-2012-0048.

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