WASHINGTON (CN) – Plans for new safety standards to prevent fatal rollover crashes in recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) were released Wednesday, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission proposal.
ROVs are similar to all-terrain vehicles, except they have steering wheels and foot pedals controlled by the driver.
There are dangers related to ROVs, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that there were more than 300 deaths and more than 500 injuries reported over a ten year period.
The commission noted that of the incidents, 66 percent of the people injured or killed were either driving the ROV or riding in the front seat as a passenger.
A team made up of an engineer, economist, health scientist and statistician reviewed documents related to ROV incidents that injured or killed people to analyze factors in accidents.
Of all the ROV incidents, the team found that 68 percent involved the ROV rolling over, and a large number of those injured or killed was not wearing seatbelts at the time.
Based on the existing data, the commission proposed new safety requirements for ROVs.
The commission noted that “ROVs with higher lateral stability are less likely to roll over” and increasing the resistance to rollovers is an effective way to reduce rollovers.
Because many of the injuries and fatalities are related to lack of seatbelt use, the commission also proposed a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour in ROVs when the vehicle’s seatbelts are unbuckled.
The proposed rule applies to ROVs that can reach speeds higher than 30 miles per hour, which would exclude vehicles like golf carts, go karts and ATVs.
When the rule is finalized, ROV manufacturers would have 180 days to comply with the lateral stability requirements and a year to comply with the occupant protection requirements.
The commission is soliciting comments about their proposal, specifically regarding technology that is available for the seatbelt requirements proposed, and whether it should issue separate requirements for utility ROVs.
The commission is also seeking comments about how to test for lateral stability and unstable handling.
Comments on the proposal are due by February 2, 2015.
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