Thursday, June 9, 2011

CPSIA - Kids Don't Lick ATV's, Apparently. Who Knew?!

In today's Desert Sun newspaper, John Paliwoda, Executive Director of the California Motorcycle Dealers Association, published an Op-Ed entitled "Note to Congress:  Kids don't lick their ATVs".  You're kidding!

A few salient take-aways:

a.  Although ATVs and dirt bikes are now "banned hazardous materials" under the law because of trace levels of lead in metal parts like engine components, scientists agree that the risk of injury is "remote at best".  Even the CPSC staff acknowledge this (in writing).  Mr. Paliwoda notes that "there have been no cases of lead poisoning documented from children riding youth model ATVs".  No one seems to care, however.

b.  The CPSC acknowledges that children face a "far graver and more immediate risk" by being exposed to adult-sized ATVs than exposure to lead in metal components in youth-model ATVs.  The very EXISTENCE of youth-model ATVs is the handiwork of the CPSC - so their ban reverses the safety gains earned by the Commission (work that actually saved lives).  This ban of youth-model ATVs under the CPSIA is part of a larger political objective to ban ATV use by kids altogether, as publicly admitted by Cindy Pelligrini of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Subterfuge as public policy?  Apparently.  Still, Mr. Paliwoda observes:  "The one thing that the government, ATV manufacturers, dealers and consumer groups all agree on is that the key to reducing injuries and fatalities to children riding ATVs is to keep riders younger than 16 off adult-size ATVs."  Hmmm.  Job well done, Congress!

c.  The manufacturing and sale of youth-model ATVs has been severely curtailed by the law despite the temporary stay protecting manufacturers and retailers.  Why?  The stay of enforcement "failed because many manufacturers and dealers are not comfortable selling youth model powersports vehicles while the ban is on the books."  And the impact on the industry?  Mr. Paliwoda:  "[For] motorcycle dealers in California, [the CPSIA] has been devastating."

Sadly, Mr. Paliwoda's reasoning and documentation will not likely sway any Dems.  Why?  Aren't they listening?  No.  Don't they care about data?  Nope.  Don't they care about the creation of jobs in their districts?  Doesn't seem like it.  What motivates them, then?  It's certainly not children's safety, by all appearances.  My best guess is that they want to be reelected as their top priority and feel that taking a reasoned stand to repair an idiotic law ostensibly "protecting" children is too politically dangerous to risk.  The public can't be expected to actually think about the details, after all, and the rabid and equally uncomprehending media will certainly take the other side of any effort to bring relief to this suffocating law.  Data be damned.

Or, you, your company, your market and your customers be damned.


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