The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday announced plans to set up a task force to address the sharp increase in serious injuries and deaths associated with three-wheel, all-terrain recreational vehicles.
In the past three years, according to the CPSC, there have been more than 100 deaths and over 100,000 injuries related to ATVs, with 46 percent of the victims under age 16.
"I've not seen anything like it for any product hazard in my five years serving as commissioner of this agency," said CPSC Commissioner Stuart M. Statler.
ATVs are the most popular recreational vehicle ever sold, with 1.8 million now in use and about 780,000 more expected to be sold this year, the agency said.
The agency's task force will study ATV use and conduct a series of public hearings nationwide to gather information from users and consumers. The CPSC also will publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, its first in several years.
CPSC Chairman Terrence M. Scanlon said that the ATV plan will cost the agency approximately $500,000 in fiscal 1985.
Many of the serious injuries and deaths related to ATV use have resulted from loss of control of the machine, which can easily flip or roll over.