Making ATVs Safer
In the midst of the Deadly Spinach Outbreak last week, the battle over ATVs took another twist.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chairperson Nancy Nord took to the airwaves to encourage the public to "take knowledge to the extreme" and learn how to more safely enjoy ATVs.
To help get the message out, the agency enlisted some minor celebrity wattage: National 4-H Council chief executive and president Donald Floyd, NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty and ATV racing champion John Natalie.
Not the most potent antidote for Johnny Knoxville, but then again, what is?
Then there's the campaign itself, an odd sort of about-face for the agency, which decided last year not to ban ATVs, because, as staff explained at the time, "it cannot control the behavior of consumers or prevent adults from allowing children to ride adult-size ATVs."
ATVs have been linked to nearly 6,500 deaths since 1982, seriously injured more than 135,000 in 2004 alone. They were responsible for 740 deaths in 2003. About a third of those incidents involved children under 16. Consumers Union and other groups have been pushing for a ban on ATVs for kids and on three-wheeled models, as well as for mandatory safety standards.
After saying it couldn't control people's behavior, the CPSC is going to try anyway and has even come around to a limited ban.
In addition to the education campaign, Nord said the agency is considering prohibiting the sale of three-wheeled models--which put riders at three times the risk of injury compared to four-wheelers--making voluntary safety standards mandatory, reducing the number of youth models and their speeds, and requiring retailers to provide free training and written warnings to buyers when they purchase an ATV.
The public has until Oct. 24, 2006, to comment on the proposed rules. If you want to chime in, you can funnel your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on ATV safety, check out the CPSC's new site, www.atvsafety.gov.
Do you think the CPSC is doing enough? Too little? Too much? ATV riders speak up!
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Posted by: Sleazy Rider | September 25, 2006 11:00 AM
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