April 22, 2015

Manchin and Heller Ride Together to Prevent Overburdening Regulations

Senators introduce legislation to prevent unnecessary regulations on off-highway vehicles

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing unnecessary and burdensome regulations on recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) put forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). There are concerns that the proposed mandatory standards could have unintended safety consequences and limit the vehicles’ ability to access difficult terrain. The legislation, the ROV in-Depth Examination Act, is commonly known as the RIDE Act. To review the bill text, please click here.

“The recreational off-road vehicle industry has demonstrated its commitment to safety by updating voluntary standards as recently as last year, and it’s a shame that we have to introduce legislation to require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to actually review those standards. In West Virginia alone, this industry contributes $1.2 billion to the economy each year and is a major engine for economic growth. This legislation brings a bit more common sense to Washington,” said Senator Manchin.

“Nevadans’ way of life keeps us outdoors and enjoying the fresh air as much as possible.  Off-road vehicles play a major role in enabling many of us to do so, providing quick and safe access across our state’s rugged terrain. That’s why I am proud to work with my friend Senator Manchin on this bipartisan bill to reign in unnecessary regulations, especially if those regulations could make these activities less safe,” said Senator Heller.

“ROV’s are an integral part of the ridership on the Hatfield McCoy Trails, over the past decade we have witnessed a true revolution in this market as manufacturers have developed multiple quality safe units for riders to choose from. We feel the growth of the Hatfield McCoy trails as a family riding destination is in large part due to this developing market of machines,” said Executive Director of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreational Authority, Jeffrey Lusk.

“The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, which represents the major North American manufacturers and distributors of recreational off-highway vehicles commonly known as ROVs or side-by-sides, is very grateful to Senators Heller and Manchin for introducing this sensible legislation. The RIDE Act requires independent testing of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's proposed changes to these vehicles, which are used by the U.S. military and millions of enthusiasts around the world. Independent testing - prior to considering implementation- is common sense and will help avoid unintended consequences, while ensuring these vehicles remain capable and safe in rugged off-highway environments,” said Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Erik Pritchard.


Ongoing rulemaking by the CPSC would impose mandatory standards on ROV manufacturers regarding lateral stability, steering characteristics, and other related-matters. Here is the letter where a bipartisan group of Senators, including Senators Heller and Manchin, urged the CPSC to work collaboratively with industry on comprehensive and effective voluntary safety standards. 

The RIDE ACT would postpone the CPSC’s ROV rulemaking until the proposed mandatory design standards have been examined by an independent agency, such as the National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). This study will help ensure that any future standards are conducive to navigating rugged terrain and do not unnecessarily compromise performance and safety.

Outdoor recreation plays a major role in the West Virginia and Nevada economies. According to a recent study, off-road activity alone has an annual impact of $1.2 billion in West Virginia and $2 billion in Nevada.