Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are made up of three main types of vehicles: All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs), and Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs). All of these vehicles carry risks of serious injury and death when not used properly or with the appropriate safety equipment and all of these vehicles could be made safer with a few common sense design changes.
There is now a coalition of individuals and organizations who are dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by OHVs. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) OHV Safety Coalition. (OSC) focuses on educating the public on proper use (specifically keeping OHVs off of roads) and supporting common sense safety requirements in OHV design. The coalition sends letters opposing proposed ordinances, laws and policies that would endanger the public by increasing recreational ATV access to roads, which can be found here.
Even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) collects data pertaining to death and injury related to ATV use, their data is not up-to-date. For example, the 2013 report was released in 2015 and the most recent complete data in that report was from 2009. In an effort to present decision makers with the most up to date data the Consequently, OSC began collecting data in 2013 and now has the most current OHV fatality data.
As of October 31st, OSC identified 493 OHV fatalities in 2016, mostly compromised of ATV and ROV deaths.
OHVs and Roads
Despite of warnings from manufacturers, federal agencies, and consumer and safety advocates that OHVs are unsafe on roadways, an increasing number of states have passed laws allowing OHVs on public roads, and additional states and counties are currently considering such laws. What is disconcerting is the majority of ATV deaths (65% in 2007) take place on roads.
OHV Safety Regulations
The OSC has been active in supporting the CPSC’s proposed rule for increasing the safety of ROVs as numerous versions of the federal voluntary standards have failed to address the:
· Inadequacy of the stability standard;
· Insufficient occupant protection measures;
· Insufficient handling provisions;
· Lack of a maximum speed for these vehicles;
· Inadequacy of measures to ensure seat belt use by occupants in ROVs.
Instead, the OSC and CPSC would like to see increased safety that includes rules on the following:
· Lateral stability requirements that specify minimum level of rollover resistance for ROVs
· The same test procedures to measure the vehicle handling properties of cars and light trucks should be applicable to ROVs.
· Limits maximum speed of the ROV when operated with occupied front seat belts unbuckled and requires “means to restrict occupant egress and excursion in the shoulder/hip zone.”
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of Off Highway Vehicle, contact us at Brannon & Brannon for a free consultation at (850)659-2252 or through our website at brannoncanhelp.com.