Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles

May 4, 2011

Background

 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff is participating in voluntary standard activities related to recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). ROVs are motorized vehicles having four or more tires designed for off-road use and intended by the manufacturer for recreational use by one or more persons.

 

ROVs are intended to be used on terrain similar to that on which all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used. ROVs are distinguished from ATVs by the presence of a steering wheel instead of a handle bar for steering, bench or bucket seats for the driver and passenger(s) instead of straddle seating, and foot controls for throttle and braking instead of levers located on the handle bar. In addition, ROVs have a rollover protective system (ROPS), restraint systems, and a maximum speed greater than 30 mph.

 

CPSC staff reviewed 329 reports of ROV-related fatality and injury incidents that occurred between January 2003 and September 2010. These reports included 169 fatalities and 299 injuries. A significant hazard pattern associated with the ROV-related incidents involved a quarter turn lateral rollover of the vehicle, full or partial ejection of the occupant, and subsequent crushing of the occupant’s head or body by the vehicle. Additionally, it is known that at least 42 percent of occupants were not wearing a seat belt, and 42 percent had unknown seat belt use status. Similarly, at least 53 percent of occupants were not wearing a helmet, while 44 percent of occupants had unknown helmet use status. Reporting for this time period is ongoing; CPSC staff expects to receive further reports of ROV-related incidents occurring in this time-frame.

 

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) Activities

 

CPSC staff is participating in the revision of the American National Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles, ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010. In 2011, CPSC staff reviewed a canvass copy of draft proposed revisions to ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010. The draft revised standard includes new requirements for lateral stability and occupant protection performance. ROHVA proposed a dynamic constant steering wheel angle test that is conducted on a paved surface to evaluate the rollover propensity of a vehicle. ROHVA also proposed that ROVs possess visual seat belt usage reminders; leg/foot barriers; shoulder/hip barriers; and arm/hand barriers to restrict occupant egress and excursion from the vehicle during a rollover event; in addition, ROHVA proposed mandatory recommendations for helmet use.

 

Based on CPSC staff’s experience with vehicle dynamics testing and occupant protection performance testing of ROVs, staff believes that the proposed revisions to ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010 do not adequately address vehicle stability, vehicle handling, and occupant protection performance. Staff presented these concerns in a letter to ROHVA, dated 03/11/2011.

 

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) Activities

 

CPSC staff is also participating in the development of the American National Standard for Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles, ANSI/OPEI B79.1-20XX. “Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles” (MOHUVs) are defined as vehicles with: (a) four or more wheels, (b) a steering wheel, (c) non-straddle seating, and (d) maximum speeds between 25 mph and 50 mph. In addition, MOHUVs have foot controls for throttle and braking, occupant restraints, and rollover protective structures. MOHUVs with maximum speeds in excess of 30 mph meet the definition of an ROV.

 

In 2011, CPSC staff reviewed a canvass copy of the draft proposed standard, ANSI/OPEI B79.1-20XX, which addresses design, configuration, and performance aspects of ROVs. OPEI proposed a dynamic J-turn test that is conducted on pavement to evaluate the rollover propensity of a vehicle. OPEI also proposed the addition of visual seat belt reminders and side retention devices to address occupant excursion in the event of a vehicle rollover.

 

Based on CPSC staff’s experience with vehicle dynamics testing and occupant protection performance testing of ROVs, staff believes that the draft proposed American National Standard for Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles, ANSI/OPEI B79.1-20XX, does not adequately address vehicle stability, vehicle handling, and occupant protection performance. Staff presented its concerns to OPEI in a letter dated 04/14/2011.

 

CPSC staff is continuing to conduct static and dynamic testing of ROVs to evaluate rollover thresholds, vehicle steering characteristics, and occupant protection performance. The information will be used to support voluntary standard development or to develop draft mandatory standard requirements for Commission consideration to improve consumer safety.

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