Currently our government is proposing an off-road vehicle design mandate that would ignore industry safety standards already proposed by industry experts. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed mandate will potentially affect all future Side By Side and ROV (receational off-road vehicle) models and possibly affect safety in an unintended negative manner. Even though industry manufacturers have tried to work with the CPSC for several years and have invested heavily in safety testing, CPSC would rather ignore industry experts and mandate its own “untested” rules for safety.
The proposed CPSC mandate would force all side by side manufacturers to make arbitrary changes to the design of all future vehicles produced. The mandated changes could reduce steering response, reduced ground clearance, vehicle width increases and more restrictive driver and passenger restraint and seatbelt systems.
***The below text was taken from the Polaris website***
The “rule” would require OEMs to build to arbitrary design standards in 4 areas:
- Mandated understeer → applies on-road design principles to off-road vehicles
- Causes vehicle to push through corners because turning radius increases as vehicle speed increases
- Reduces vehicle steering responsiveness and handling predictability
- Works for on-road vehicles with smooth ditches and guard rails, but will lead to unintended consequences off-road
- Polaris supports OEM design freedom to optimize predictable, responsive off-road handling
- Minimum lateral acceleration on pavement → optimizes on-road performance without any correlation to off-road safety
- Could lead to loss of ground clearance and/or wider vehicles
- Encourages use of stiffer tires, not effective off-road
- Limits/eliminates door and cab enclosures
- Ignores steering wheel input – drivers’ primary control
- Polaris supports dynamic stability testing tied to steering wheel input
- Mandated Passenger Seat Belt Interlock → ties speed-limiting technology to the front passenger seats creating potential failure modes and unintended consequences
- Transfers some control of vehicle from driver to passenger – passenger unbuckling or bouncing on seat will result in dangerous, sudden loss of power
- Limits ability to customize seats and causes increased risk of seat sensor failure in off-road conditions
- Limits/eliminates ability to utilize under seat storage
- Polaris has innovative driver’s side speed-limiting seat belt system on most MY15s, but opposes adding that system to passenger seats
- Mandated Shoulder Bolster → requires a frame-mounted shoulder bolster on all vehicles
- Compromises ability to get in and out
- Limits door and cab options
- Polaris supports active occupant restraints, has had doors and nets for many years
Statistics taken from an CPSC report (linked below) shows the safety record for Side by Sides. In the year 2012 there were 76 total reported fatalities due to ROV accidents. In 2012 it was estimated that there was 876,000 ROV’s in use. Although any and every ROV fatality is tragic, it is a very small fraction of total use and alcohol was shown to be a factor in nearly 50% of incidents . Also a very high percentage of ROV deaths were shown to be “unbelted” fatalities, seatbelt reminder mechanisms are very easily disabled and also pose safety issues of their own.
For more information about the proposed mandate please go to www.StopTheROVMandate.com. Also be sure to voice your opinion on the CPSC Contact Form at www.cpsc.gov/About-CPSC/Contact-Information/Contact-Specific-Offices-and-Public-Information/Information-Center/.