Because of Florida’s weather, we are a perfect place for off-road vehicles.
There are two-passenger motorized vehicles designed for drivers 16 and older that look like a golf cart, go a lot faster, and with a roll cage, resemble a miniature Jeep. Known as ROVs or off-road recreational vehicles, the consumer Product Safety Commission has decided that these vehicles have so many potential problems that mandatory rules will be written to oversee the vehicles.
This comes after more than 100 deaths since 2003, many of them teenagers and young children.
The makers of ROVs proposed their own voluntary regulations, but the CPSC says they fell short. The Consumer Federation of America believes that the industry has been dragging its feet even when facing well-documented hazards caused by these products.
A major area of concern is the high number of injuries resulting from rollover accidents in Florida. Since 2003, 150 people have been injured, many of them when a rider extends their legs, feet, and arms during a fall and the extremities are crushed. Some riders have even lost their limbs in crashes that can reach 35 miles per hour. Many dealers say the vehicles can go even faster.
A popular model, the Yamaha Rhino, was linked to 46 deaths in the past six years. Many of those accidents involved rollovers which can occur even on flat ground at relatively slow speeds.
Some 140,000 ROVs were sold in the U.S. last year and while there are speed limits for the youth models, there are no standards for the vehicles with the roll cage.
The CPSC announcement at least puts the industry on notice that while it will be consulted, there will be new rules in development over the next months, which unfortunately can run into years before something is finalized.