By Neil Pascale
The effort to get youth-designed ATVs and motorcycles back on the showroom floor appears to be moving to the state level.
At press time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was finalizing a vote that would grant the industry a temporary stay, allowing it to sell vehicles that have been banned as a result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The act outlawed youth-designed vehicles that did meet lead requirements.
CPSC Chairman Nancy Nord, in concert with CPSC’s other commissioner, has directed the federal agency’s staff to create a vote to allow a stay for such vehicles that were manufactured both before Feb. 10 and up to May 1, 2011. The stay would extend to replacement parts for the vehicles, provided those parts do not have a higher lead content than the originally installed parts.
Both CPSC commissioners have said they would vote for the stay, although the vote had not occurred by press time.
Joe Martyak, acting director of Public Affairs for the CPSC, notes the CPSC chairman’s statement immediately sent a message to the federal agency’s staff not to enforce any penalty against selling youth-designed ATVs and motorcycles.
“The provision is still there and if they (dealers) sell one and it’s over the lead law, yes, it’s breaking the law,” he said. “But we’re saying we’re exercising enforcement discretion not to bring a penalty against them.”
However, dealers who sell such vehicles could still face penalties at the state level. Chairman Nord noted in her statement, “I hope that the state attorneys general will follow our lead in this matter.”
But it’s up to each state attorneys general’s office to determine whether they would enforce the law’s penalty or not.
The Motorcycle Industry Council issued a statement saying it was pleased with the temporary reprieve but also noted it’s not the solution the industry was seeking.
“With today’s vote, it is now obvious that the only permanent solution is for Congress to end the ban once and for all by amending the CPSIA so parents once again have access to appropriate-sized youth model ATVs and motorcycles for their children,” said Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the MIC.
Nord has previously stated that she doesn’t believe children-designed ATVs and motorcycles should be permanently exempted from the CPSIA because “the clear language of the law requires this result, not because it advances consumer safety.”
CPSC’s other commissioner, Thomas Moore, noted the alternatives to not allowing a stay — including the possibility that children might ride adult-sized ATVs — “appear to be more dangerous” than simply enforcing the CPSIA. Moore, however, noted the CPSC staff “must also work with the industry to bring the non-complying components of these youth vehicles as close to the lead limits established by law as is currently technologically feasible, to the extent those parts cannot be made inaccessible.”
As part of the scheduled vote on the stay, the CPSC would request manufacturers to submit a reporting outlining the vehicles affected,
the parts that don’t comply with the lead limit, the material from which the parts are made,
the lead content level of those parts and the
reason such parts are not able “to be made inaccessible, substituted with another material or made with a complying level of lead at that point in time.”
May 4, 2009 – Reprieve for youth-designed ATVs?
By Neil Pascale