Industry Stalls ROV Rules for Preventing Rollover Deaths

 In Motor Vehicle Accident, Personal Injury

ROV Safety Rules Stalled

With autumn comes brilliantly colored trees, chilly breezes, and the urge to get outside before it’s too cold. If you’re riding the trails this fall in an ROV or other off-highway recreational vehicle, Pribanic & Pribanic asks you to be mindful of your seatbelts and speeds.

The increasing number of injuries and deaths from recreational off-highway vehicle (ROVs) accidents prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to propose rules to prevent rollover crashes in October of 2014.

The CPSC’s investigation began in 2009 after an alarming number rollover deaths were reported for drivers and passengers of the Yamaha Rhino.

But in 2015, Congress threw a monkeywrench in the new rules by introducing the ROV In-Depth Examination (RIDE) Act, which prevents the CPSC from instituting any regulations until it conducts a more “in-depth study” involving other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, which uses a lot of ROVs.  

For the general public, safety regulations have been stalled ever since.

According to the CPSC’s proposed rulemaking, there were 550 reported ROV-related incidents in the decade between January 1, 2003 and April 5, 2013 – including 335 reported fatalities and 506 reported injuries.  

The commission’s preliminarily results found “there may be an unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).”

To address these risks, the Commission proposed improvements in ROV “lateral stability,” better handling and steering capabilities, and “in-vehicle reminders to encourage occupants to fasten their seat belts.”

But after heavy lobbying from the ROV industry, lawmakers stopped these new safety measures, despite the fact that previous “repair programs” instituted by CPSC have markedly reduced injury and death.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania ranks #1 in total deaths related to crashes involving off-highway vehicles (OHVs).  

Consumer Federation of America found that in the first eight months of 2016 alone, there were 362 reported deaths from OHV incidents across the nation.  Of those, 50 were ROV deaths and nearly a quarter of those deaths were kids less than 16 years old.

By definition, ROVs are motorized vehicles that combine off-road capability with utility. While some models are designed as low-speed ‘work horses,’ other models reach speeds of over 30 mph.

ROVs are similar to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) but with significant differences, outlined by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • ROVs have a steering wheel instead of a handlebar for steering
  • ROVs have foot pedals instead of hand levers for throttle & brake control
  • ROVs have bench or bucket seats rather than straddle seating (like ATVs) for occupant(s)

“ROVs only require steering wheel input from the driver to steer the vehicle…In contrast, ATVs require riders to steer with their hands and to maneuver their body front to back and side to side to augment the ATV’s pitch and lateral stability,” writes CPSC.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an ROV crash or rollover, call the experienced personal injury and defective product attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic for a free consultation: (800) 392-4529

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