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Rising Concerns About Off-Highway Vehicle Safety in the U.S.

2018-10-24 10:16 Wednesday

According to the latest market research, millennials are spending more on outdoor recreation, including off-highway recreational vehicles. Projections suggest that the market for such vehicles will grow at a 16% CAGR through 2028. However, increasing accidents and fatalities associated with off-highway vehicles threaten to undermine the strong growth in recent years.

Off-Highway Vehicle

Off-highway motor vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, now are illegal to drive on roads, streets and highways in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Drivers who violate the law face fines of up to $300, as well as a potential 90-day  jail sentence. The state of New Mexico allows municipalities to define their own guidelines for off-highway vehicles.

The rising death toll from  off-highway vehicle crashes is responsible for Las Cruces' o ban. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has rejected a proposal to track injuries and casualties associated with off-highway vehicles.

Commissioners voted 3-2 against adding the off-highway vehicles as a category in the agency's annual report. Commissioner Elliot Kaye noted: "Sales of the vehicles quadrupled between 2000 and 2015, and that they are one of the most fatal products on the market."

He continued: "Publishing more data on off-highway vehicles would be an important first step in better understanding the hazards and evaluating trends associated with these products". Kaye insists that the commission should track injuries and fatalities involving off-highway vehicles.

Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel for the Consumer Federation of America, was critical of the proposal. "It's incredibly important for the public to know the impact of using a particular product, particularly products like ROVs that are gaining in popularity. If the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is truly data-driven, they need to robustly collect and release data," she said.

In the absence of CPSC numbers, the Consumer Federation can just make an informal estimate of deaths involving off-highway vehicles based on data from news report. According to its  website, there have been at least 367 people killed in off-highway vehicles crashes since 2016 in the United States.

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