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Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association Continues Pioneering Work In Support of Consensus Standards and Occupant Safety

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) obtained approval by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) of the first standard in the world for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), also known as UTVs and side-by-sides, on March 5, 2010, setting an initial benchmark for vehicle design, configuration and performance. To allow it to continue to address ROV performance criteria in this expanding vehicle class, ROHVA initiated the ANSI process for revising the newly approved standard on March 9. As part of the revision process, ROHVA also will continue its efforts to solicit and exchange information and views with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its staff. “We are pleased to have completed the initial version of the standard and look forward to the participation of the ANSI consensus body in the revision process,” said ROHVA Chairman, Mike Schmitt.

Over a period of 26 months, the ROHVA Technical Advisory Panel worked expeditiously to develop the ANSI standard, analyzing and debating the complex issues and competing objectives associated with this unique class of vehicles. At the same time, ROHVA was concerned that operator and passenger behavior – largely in violation of existing warnings – contributed to crashes resulting in avoidable injuries and fatalities. In response, ROHVA became the first, and remains the only, national entity with a unified plan to educate consumers and to attempt to change behavior to increase safety, as a supplement to all of the individual manufacturer and distributor efforts. ROHVA has drafted Model State Legislation that would mandate compliance with the ROV Safety Rules ROHVA also is developing a state-of-the-art online learning program to further convey and instill critical safety messages.

“ROHVA remains hopeful that CPSC and other stakeholders will partner with ROHVA to promote these important initiatives, which are focused on changing behavior. CPSC data suggests that if we can change certain behaviors, we will improve the safety of operators and passengers,” said Paul Vitrano, ROHVA executive vice president.

Initially published in November 2008, the ROV Safety Rules urge operators and passengers to:

  1. Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, use the seat belts, and keep all parts of your body inside the ROV.
  2. Never drive on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law. ROVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
  3. Drive only in designated areas, at a safe speed, and use care when turning and crossing slopes.
  4. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  5. Never drive an ROV unless you’re 16 or older or have a driver’s license. ROVs are not toys.
  6. Never carry more passengers than the ROV is designed for, and never allow a passenger who is too small to sit in a passenger seat to ride in the ROV.
  7. Read and follow the operator’s manual and warning labels.

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is a national industry organization that promotes the safe and responsible use of ROVs. ROHVA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop equipment, configuration and performance standards. Based in Irvine, Calif., the not-for-profit association is sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris and Yamaha. For more information visit