When you don’t like the rules, get out there and change them. In this case, it’s the off-road vehicle industry that’s not happy with proposed new federal rules that could change the way your ROV handles and performs in the outdoors.
The proposed new safety standards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are designed to reduce rollover accidents, the leading cause of death for more than 550 people killed in ROV accidents since 2003, according to the commission and the Consumer Federation of America.
But the off-road industry says the new rules could actually make the crafts less safe. They say the commission based its rules off technology used in cars, which is untested in off-road environments. In testimony before Congress, Erik Pritchard, general counsel for the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association said that industry engineers “just think CPSC’s got this wrong.”
To combat the planned rules, industry leaders such as Polaris have mounted a vigorous opposition with social media and political campaigns along with a website. The resulting bill known as the ROV In-Depth Examination Act is picking up co-sponsors and moving through the House with a similar version in the Senate. It would require the National Institutes of Science to study the rules before they are implemented at a cost of up to $1 million.
Consumer watchdog groups have opposed the bill. Rachel Weintraub, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America, pointed to the injuries that occur each year.
“There are real-world consequences…for delaying, and that is severe injuries and deaths,” she told the committee.
Here is a look at the proposed rules and how the industry claims they will affect your next outdoor adventure.
Changing how ROVs steer to make them more like cars
This could actually make ROVs less responsive on tight turns.
Lowering the vehicle height and widening its base
These changes could make many off-road inaccessible.
Requiring stiffer tires like those found on cars
This rule has the potential to reduce traffic and increase spinouts.
Requiring seatbelt interlock over 15 mph
This could unintentially allow passengers to abruptly cut your speed.
Installing passive restraint systems
This would reduce doorway space by 25 percent.