CPSIA Update: ATVs, Dirt Bikes and Snowmobiles

By May 4, 2009General

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has stayed enforcement of the new lead limits mandated for children’s products by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act on youth motorized recreational vehicles for two years. The order is here. Excerpt:

Specifically, the Commission is staying enforcement of the specified lead level as it pertains to certain parts of youth all terrain vehicles, youth off-road motorcycles and youth snowmobiles (“Youth Motorized Recreational Vehicles” or “Vehicles”), specifically battery terminals containing up to 100 percent lead, and components made with metal alloys, including steel containing up to 0.35 percent lead, aluminum with up to 0.4 percent lead, and copper with up to 4.0 percent lead, and the vehicles that contain them.

This stay will remain in effect until May 1, 2011, unless prior to that time the Commission, based upon evidence submitted to it, decides to continue the stay for an additional period of time with regard to all or some of the vehicles.

Which, again, is about as far as the CPSC can go regulatorily without action by Congress to bring some rationality to the law. (It’s not just a two-paragraph order, either. Many reports, inventories and compliance plans are demanded of the manufacturers.)

Once again, this order governs only the CPSC’s enforcement. An ambitious attorney general could undertake enforcement as allowed by the federal law. Legal liability remains a great unanswered question. You know there people out there who are offended by the mere existence of mini-bikes, who want to prevent any 11-year-old from ever riding a motorized vehicle. A stay of enforcement might not be enough to discourage these sensitive safety souls.

The American Motorcycle Association has issued a news release. Excerpt:

“While we applaud the CPSC commissioners’ vote to stay enforcement of the law, this doesn’t solve the real issue, which is the law itself,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “Youth-model motorcycles and ATVs should be exempt from the law, and Congress needs to act to make that happen. Hopefully, this stay will give Congress the time it needs to fix this law, and we will continue to work with both legislators and our partners in the industry to make certain that it does.”

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