Lead Ban Jeopardizes National 4-H and ATV Safety Training

IRVINE, CA - The CPSIA lead ban led to sad consequences for a group of 4-H youth who were attending an annual meeting this week at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center just outside Washington, D.C.

The one-day ATV training portion of the event was cancelled for the 4-H youth participants under 16 years of age as a result of the CPSIA lead ban on youth-sized ATVs. The CPSIA has branded these vehicles 'banned hazardous substances' due to their minimal lead content. The lead ban made it impossible for event organizers from the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) to procure appropriately-sized youth model ATVs to use in the training.

"The continuing ban resulting from the CPSIA now has claimed other victims - 4-H youth seeking ATV training," said Paul Vitrano, EVP and general counsel for the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). "And what's happening here is a microcosm of what's happening nationwide."

"We contacted dealers and ASI Instructors in four states and could not find anyone willing or able to lend us the necessary youth category ATVs that are required in order to train students under 16," said Tom Yager, vice president, safety programs for ASI. "Because of the CPSIA lead ban, youth models were not available from dealers. Plus, no one knows if they can get replacement parts or servicing, so that's another major impediment to obtaining loan vehicles for training purposes."

"The other perverse effect of the CPSIA lead ban is that the unavailability of youth-sized vehicles could result in children riding adult-sized ATVs, which is a warned against behavior and the leading cause of youth injuries on ATVs," Vitrano continued.

Although the CPSC implemented a Stay of Enforcement on May 12, 2009, the stay provides only temporary, inadequate relief.  "The availability of youth model ATVs will continue to be compromised until Congress provides a permanent solution by amending the CPSIA to exclude youth powersports vehicles from the lead content requirements," Vitrano said.

The 4-H youth who were forced to forego ATV training this week were members of local 4-H groups that had been awarded community-based grants sponsored by SVIA that focus on ATV safety awareness.  At the MIC Communications Symposium held in November 2008, guest presenter Roger Olson, National 4-H Council vice president for rural and agribusiness development, lauded the successful, growing partnership between 4-H and ASI to develop safety education and training programs that target the six million youth served by 4-H.

Olson called the 4-H ATV Safety Program one of 4-H's most successful programs, noting that for more than 24 years, 4-H has shared ATV safety awareness information with 18 million youth and adults through workshops, exhibits, fairs, community events, physical education classes, after school programs, and club meetings.

"What's especially sad is that these 4-H youth look forward to this event all year," Vitrano said. "They're committed to spreading the word about ATV safety in their communities, but were unable to experience important hands-on training. Both they and we were disappointed that unnecessary regulation caused us to lose this once-a-year opportunity."

SVIA/MIC statements, news releases, video testimonials, news articles, and additional information regarding the CPSIA are available at www.StopTheBanNow.com.

Immediate updates are available via Twitter by following paulvitrano.

About SVIA
Since 1983, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of AmericaR has promoted the safe and responsible use of All-Terrain Vehicles through rider training programs, public awareness campaigns, and state legislation. The SVIA also serves as a resource for ATV research, statistics, and vehicle standards. SVIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop the standard for the equipment, configuration and performance requirements of ATVs (www.svia.org). The SVIA, based in Irvine, Calif., is a not-for-profit trade association sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin, Tomoto and Yamaha. For membership information, call 949.727.3727. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org and click on "Online Enrollment" or call 800.887.2887.

About ASI
The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety InstituteR, a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of AmericaR, was formed in 1988 to implement an expanded national program of all-terrain vehicle safety education and awareness. The ATV Safety Institute's primary goal is to promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs, thereby reducing crashes and injuries that may result from improper ATV operation by the rider. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org and click on "Online Enrollment," or call 800.887.2887.

About MIC
The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. It is a not-for-profit, national trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as publishing companies, advertising agencies, insurance firms and consultants. The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office adjacent to Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914.