Congressional hearing may impact ban on selling off-highway vehicles for kids
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A U.S. House hearing scheduled for Thursday, April 29, will address the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA) of 2010. The CPSEA would modify earlier legislation that effectively banned the sale of youth-model dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles due to onerous lead-content standards.
The CPSEA hearing — which will be held by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee under the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection — follows persistent pressure by American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) members and others to address the unintended consequences of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.
However, despite the importance of resolving problems with the earlier law, the AMA reports concerns with the particular language in the new bill.
While the CPSEA would provide the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) flexibility to issue exclusions to the lead-content standards of the CPSIA, it fails to define key concepts in the bill, which could water down its effectiveness, explained AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland.
“There are important phrases in the new bill that must be clearly defined for this legislation to be objective,” Moreland said. “Otherwise, the bill is left open to interpretation and, potentially, litigation. Indeed, at least one lawsuit has already been filed with respect to one of these key concepts.”
The CPSEA does allow for exclusions related to products, materials or components that are not likely to be placed in the mouth under normal use — language that specifically addresses issues brought up by the motorized recreation community regarding the absence of any likelihood that children will put vehicle parts in their mouths. Without clarification, however, those exclusions are unlikely to have their intended consequence.
Two crucial examples are the phrases “not practicable” and “no measurable adverse effect.” The first refers to an exclusion petition having to prove that removing lead from production is neither practicable nor technologically feasible. The second allows for an exemption if there is no adverse effect on public health.
“Because the CPSEA is meant to cast a broad net over children’s products covered by the original CPSIA, sweeping language and undefined phrases do not remedy the specific needs of the youth-model off-road motorcycle and ATV community,” Moreland said. “AMA members and other motorcyclists need to contact their representatives and let them know that while we’re on the right track for finding a solution, that this particular bill does not quite get us there.”
Instead, Moreland advocated support for the U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.)-sponsored H.R. 1587. H.R. 1587 is separate legislation that would exempt youth-model motorcycles and ATVs from the lead-content limits in the CPSIA.
To contact members of Congress, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Issues and Legislation > Rights (AmericanMotorcyclist.com/legisltn/rapidresponse.asp), and enter your zip code in the space provided. A pre-written letter also is available to send to your Representative.
More information on the CPSIA, H.R. 1587, the CPSEA and what the AMA has been doing to fight the ban on youth motorcycles and ATVs can be found at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/news/story.asp?id=629&s=banner