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Some Important Issues Regarding ATV Safety

Aug 17, 2007
When ATV became a major competitor in recreational and utility vehicle in 1984, it also escalated the growing concerns of the public. ATV was becoming a controversial vehicle. There was an estimated 60,000 injuries in 1986, all ATV related due to improper riding behavior and overly excessive thrill riding. In 1988, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) entered into an unprecedented 10-year agreement with American ATV manufacturers called the Final Consent Decree. The agreement funded $100 million to expand existing safety programs like free training incentives to ATV owners. But the biggest move of the Final Consent Decree was the production shift from three wheeled ATVs to four wheeled ATVs. Additionally, manufacturers repurchased any unsold three wheel models and trade in three wheeled models with the four wheel ATVs.

In spite of that move, injuries and deaths still occur regularly. On 2004 alone, statistics released by the CPSC estimated 136,000 injuries associated with ATVs are recorded on American hospitals, doubling the numbers of accidents the last decade. The expiration of the decree didnt help with the ATV safety practices, though it effectively replaced the three wheels with the four wheels ATV. And the CPSC had a number of flaws; it only covers the manufacturers present at the forging of the decree. New manufacturers who entered the market after the forging of Final Consent Decree are not covered by the plans so to speak and that gave them a considerable leeway towards ATV manufacturing. Also, overseas manufacturers are completely exempt of this decree.

There have been decrees attending to the nature of the machines themselves. One such decree is the balance of the machine with regards to the riders age. Riders under the age of 16 are strictly prohibited from riding ATVs with 90cc engines. Various states have also enacted legislations governing ATV usage within their boundaries, like for instance the riders age and the engine displacements should concede with the decrees.

Some advocates, though, argue that a child starting to ride ATVs at younger age improves ATV safety. They had stated that this child would develop necessary expertise as he grows older instead of waiting until he is sixteen and handling larger ATVs. In effect, CPSC approved the usage of smaller ATVs with 50cc to be used by youngsters as early as 6.

All Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI) was formed in 1988 to implement a program of ATV safety, education and awareness to the interested ATV riders. Since it is a non-profit organization, the cost for attending ATV safety training is minimal. ASI is a division of Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), also an organization promoting safe and responsible use of specialty vehicles.
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