What is the purpose of the safety rule for all-terrain vehicles (ATV)?
This rule aims to prevent unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with ATVs. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) work on ATVs began in the mid-1980s, following an increase of ATV sales and injuries. CPSC became aware of at least 161 deaths associated with ATVs that occurred between January 1982 and April 1985, as well as approximately 66,956 injuries associated with ATVs in 1984 alone. These numbers prompted the Commission to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, 50 FR 23139 (May 31, 1985), which the Commission subsequently withdrew because a voluntary standard for ATVs, developed by the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) through the American National Standards institute (ANSI), was expedited and eventually approved by the Commission as part of a negotiated agreement, 54 FR 1407 (January 13, 1989). The Commission ultimately mandated the voluntary standard and codified the requirements at 16 CFR part 1420, 73 FR 67385 (November 14, 2008).
Since the implementation of the mandatory standard, CPSC has published regular reports that compile death and injury data involving off-highway vehicles. In the 2021 report, CPSC notes 1,591 deaths involving an ATV that occurred between 2016 and 2018. In addition, based on National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data, an annual average of approximately 100,800 ATV-related injuries were treated by emergency departments between 2016 and 2020.
Firms should consider requirements in the rule to be a safety baseline from which to design their product and also consider finding ways to build safety into the product to go above and beyond the mandatory requirements. Firms are encouraged to consider how consumers might use (and misuse) the product in unintended ways, but such use may still be foreseeable from the CPSC’s perspective.
What is an ATV?
Section 42(e)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) defines an “ATV” as “any motorized, off-highway vehicle designed to travel on 3 or 4 wheels, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.” This does not include prototypes that are intended exclusively for research and development purposes unless the vehicle is offered for sale.
The ANSI/SVIA American National Standard for Four Wheel All-Terrain Vehicles (ANSI/SVIA standard) also defines an “ATV” as “a motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four low pressure or non-pneumatic tires…, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.” This definition differs from the statutory definition in that specific types of tires are noted.
Any product meeting the statutory definition of an “ATV” under section 42(e)(1) of the CPSA is subject to the mandatory requirements. Based on the statutory definition, the features of an ATV are:
- motorized vehicle (gas or electric)
- intended to be used on non-highway surfaces
- has 3 or 4 wheels
- uses a straddle seat (as opposed to “bucket” seats)
- uses a handlebar for steering (as opposed to a steering wheel).
What are the types of ATVs?
The ANSI/SVIA standard classifies two types of ATVs, Type I and Type II:
- Type I ATVs are intended to be ridden by a single operator and no passenger. Type I ATVs are divided further into three usage categories:
- Category G (intended for recreational and/or utility use by an operator aged 16 or older)
- Category S (intended for recreational use by an operator aged 16 or older)
- Category Y (intended for recreational use by an operator under 16 years of age)
- Category Y-6+ (intended for operators aged 6 or older)
- Category Y-10+ (intended for operators aged 10 or older)
- Category Y-12+ (intended for operators aged 12 or older)
- Category T (intended for use by operators aged 14 or older with adult supervision, or 16 or older alone)
- Type II ATVs are intended to be ridden by an operator with or without a passenger and are limited to Category G (operator aged 16 or older).
For more information regarding the types of ATVs, please reference the ANSI/SVIA standard.
Where can I find the requirements for ATVs?
Part 1420 incorporates by reference performance requirements for ATVs in the ANSI/SVIA standard. The most recent version of the standard, ANSI/SVIA 1-2017, is available through the SVIA’s website at: www.svia.org.
What are the requirements for ATVs?
The requirements for four-wheeled ATVs are as follows:
- Every ATV must comply with all applicable provisions of the ANSI/SVIA standard.
- Every ATV must be subject to an active “ATV action plan” on file with the CPSC and approved by the Commission.
- Every ATV must bear a label certifying compliance to the ANSI/SVIA standard; identifying the manufacturer, importer, or private labeler; and identifying the ATV action plan to which it is subject.
- Manufacturers, distributors, and importers must maintain compliance with all provisions of their approved ATV action plan.
The ANSI/SVIA standard addresses design, configuration, and performance aspects of ATVs, including, but not limited to, requirements for mechanical suspension; throttle, clutch, and gearshift controls; engine and fuel cutoff devices; lighting; tires; operator foot environment; service and parking brake/parking mechanism performance; and pitch stability. Other areas covered in the ANSI/SVIA standard include requirements for labels, owner’s manuals, and hangtags.
Per 16 CFR § 1420.4, new three-wheeled ATVs may not be imported into or distributed in U.S. commerce.
Are there any other requirements for ATVs?
Every domestic manufacturer or importer of a product that is subject to a consumer product safety rule enforced by the CPSC must issue a certificate of compliance (Children’s Product Certificate or CPC for children’s products, and General Certificate of Conformity or GCC for general-use products). Certificates must contain the following seven (7) elements:
- Identification of the product covered by the certificate
- Citation to each consumer product safety rule to which the product is being certified
- Identification of the domestic manufacturer or importer certifying compliance of the product
- Contact information for the individual maintaining records of test results
- Date and place of manufacture
- Date and place of testing
- Identification of any laboratory that conducted testing
All consumer products under CPSC’s jurisdiction are subject to reporting requirements under section 15 of the CPSA. You must file a report if you receive information about your product that may reasonably support the conclusion that your product:
- Fails to comply with any requirement enforced by the CPSC,
- Contains a defect that could pose a hazard to consumers, or
- Creates an unreasonable risk of injury or death.
What is an ATV action plan?
An ATV action plan is defined at 16 CFR § 1420.2(b) as “a written plan or letter of undertaking that describes actions the manufacturer or distributor agrees to take to promote ATV safety, including rider training, dissemination of safety information, age recommendations, other policies governing marketing and sale of the ATVs, the monitoring of such sales, and other safety related measures, and that is substantially similar to the plans described under the heading ‘The Undertakings of the Companies’ in the Commission Notice published in the Federal Register on September 9, 1998 (63 FR 48199-48204).”
Where can I submit my ATV action plan for approval?
Proposed ATV action plans may be submitted as a PDF by email to: ATVReportsRegulatedCMT@cpsc.gov or mailed to:
Office of the Secretary
Office of the General Counsel
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway, Suite 820
Bethesda, MD 20814
ATV action plans must be submitted before the product’s launch date so that CPSC staff and the Commission have sufficient time to review, comment on, and potentially approve the action plan.
For CPSC to accurately assess the ability of the applying firm to fulfill the terms of its proposed ATV action plan, CPSC staff generally requests additional supporting information and documentation. Responses should be organized by numbered request and submitted along with the proposed ATV action plan. The information requested is listed below:
- Provide contact information (including address, phone number, and email) for the firm’s corporate headquarters and any other offices, and state the number of employees at each location.
- Provide the website for the firm.
- Provide the names, titles, and contact information for each of the firm’s corporate officers. Also provide contact information (including address, phone number, and email) for at least two other individuals to whom CPSC can speak to regarding the firm.
- Provide the names and contact information (including address, phone number, and email) for any parent, subsidiary, or otherwise affiliated company or organization related to the firm.
- Provide the state of [incorporation] [formation], date of [incorporation] [formation], and evidence that the firm is in good standing.
- Provide a description of the firm’s business, including business experience and qualifications of your corporate officers; history of the firm; total revenues; total debts; and total number of products imported and/or sold.
- Provide a copy of the firm’s business plan as it relates to ATVs.
- Provide your importer of record number(s).
- Provide any financial documents that reflect the firm’s financial solvency and ability to carry out the obligations set forth in its proposed ATV action plan, including income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and tax return forms for the past three years and any part of the current year. Please include current loan documents and any operating plans not included in your response to Request 7.
ATV Specific Information
- Provide the names and contact information (including address, phone number, and email) of all ATV manufactures, importers, distributors, or retailers with whom the firm will partner.
- State whether any corporate officer or other affiliate of the firm has ever been involved, on a formal or informal basis, with another ATV firm. If so, please provide the name of the other ATV firm, and explain the dates and the nature of the relationship.
- State whether any corporate officer or other affiliate of the firm have prior experience with the process for obtaining approval of an ATV action plan. If so, please explain.
- Provide any documents reflecting the firm’s current membership in any ATV safety organization, such as the ATV Safety Institute (“ASI”) and/or the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (“SVIA”). If the firm is not currently a member of any such organization, please state why.
- Provide documentation describing the ATVs that the firm plans to manufacture, import, or distribute including all model names/numbers, product specifications, owner’s manuals, technical drawings, and test reports to show compliance with CPSC requirements and the ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 ATV standard.
- Provide a list of the age categories for each model ATV the firm intends to manufacture, import, or distribute. Include any age grade analysis conducted by the manufacturer to validate that the products are appropriately sized for the targeted audience and accurately align with the ATV age categories defined in the ANSI/SVIA 1-2017 ATV standard.
Do the same requirements apply for electric or battery-powered ATVs?
Yes. The statutory definition (15 U.S.C. §2089) of an “ATV” states: “any motorized, off-highway vehicle.” If the ATV, electric or not, meets the statutory definition of an “ATV,” it must meet the mandatory requirements.
Are there different standards for the various Category Y ATVs?
Yes. The ANSI/SVIA standard further classifies Category Y ATVs into three age groups: Y-6+, Y-10+, and Y-12+. Each age group of youth model ATVs must comply with the unique design, configuration, and performance requirements outlined in the ANSI/SVIA standard.
Are there additional requirements for ATVs intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger?
Yes. ATVs that are intended for children 12 years of age and younger are considered children’s products. In general, children’s products are subject to the following requirements:
- Total Lead Content: “Off-highway vehicles,” as defined in Public Law No. 112-28, are excepted from the total lead content testing requirements found in 15 U.S.C. § 1278a.
- Lead in Paint and Surface Coating: Children’s products must not bear paint and surface coatings that contain more than 0.009% (90 ppm) lead by dried weight.
- Testing and Certification: Children’s products must be tested by a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory for compliance to the applicable safety rules. Based on that testing, the U.S. importer or domestic manufacturer must generate a CPC certifying compliance to the applicable safety rules.
- Tracking Label: Children’s products must bear distinguishing, permanent marks on the product and its packaging that allow consumers to ascertain the manufacturer or private labeler, location and date of production, and any other cohort information (such as the batch or run number). Tracking labels also must allow the manufacturer to ascertain the specific source of the product (e.g., identification of the manufacturing plant).
See also CPSC’s Guidance for Youth ATVs.
Are there requirements for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)?
The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) defines an “ROV” as a motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four or more tires, intended by the manufacturer for recreational use by one or more persons. Notably, ROVs are distinguished from ATVs by the following features:
- Steering wheel instead of handlebar for steering
- Bench or bucket sets instead of straddle seats
- Foot controls for throttle and breaking instead of levers on the handlebar
In addition, ROVs have a rollover protective system, as well as restraint systems.
ANSI/ROHVA 1-2016 is the most recent voluntary consensus standard.
CPSC is actively participating in the development of ROV standards. More information can be found on our Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles page.
Are there requirements for fun-karts/go-carts?
ASTM F2011 defines “fun-karts” as “a motorized vehicle with four wheels, excluding vehicles which the operator, and passenger, if any, sit astride, sold commercially as consumer goods and intended for private personal recreational use by consumers for off-road use on suitable terrain, as recommended by the manufacturer, at maximum speeds over 12 mph (19.3 km/h) but not exceeding 40 mph (64.4 km/h).”
CPSC does not have mandatory requirements specific to fun-karts. ASTM F2011-02R18 Standard Specification for Safety and Performance of Fun-Karts is the most recent voluntary consensus standard and can be purchased at: www.ASTM.org.
Where can I find additional information?
For more information, please contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.