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Proposed Safety Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles Gets Longer Comment Period

Friday, January 23, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has extended from Feb. 4 to April 8 the period for public comments on a proposed rule that would establish a new safety standard for recreational off-highway vehicles based on the CPSC’s preliminary determination that there may be an unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with these vehicles.

ROVs are motorized vehicles designed for off-highway use with the following features: four or more pneumatic tires designed for off-highway use; bench or bucket seats for two or more occupants; automotive-type controls for steering, throttle and braking; and a maximum vehicle speed greater than 30 miles per hour. ROVs are also equipped with rollover protective structures, seat belts and other restraints (such as doors, nets and shoulder barriers) for the protection of occupants. ROVs differ significantly from all-terrain vehicles in vehicle design, particularly in that they only require steering wheel input from the driver to steer the vehicle and the motion of the occupants has little or no effect on vehicle control or stability.

The proposed standard includes lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements that specify a minimum level of rollover resistance and require that ROVs exhibit sublimit understeer characteristics; occupant retention requirements that would limit the maximum speed of an ROV to no more than 15 miles per hour unless the seat belts of both the driver and front passengers, if any, are fastened; a requirement for ROVs to have a passive means, such as a barrier or structure, to limit further the ejection of a belted occupant in the event of a rollover; and information requirements.

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