CPSIA lead ban jeopardizes Safety Institute Training Programs

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.