Why Punch Kawasaki for UTV Law AB 1595?
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Kawasaki should not be blamed for the AB 1595 law. It's more complicated than that.
There’s been some rumbling about the new UTV law that is being signed into effect in California (AB 1595). The law defines ROV/SxS as its own class of OHV. It also creates guidelines in response to studies done by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) which identified hazards associated with side-by-sides.
Assemblyman Paul Cook authored the bill and it was sponsored by the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA). Everybody balks at more legislation and restriction, but the reason that the ROHVA and its membership support this bill is that the OEMs are trying to self-regulate before the CPSC steps in and starts doing it for us. The CPSC got involved with 3-wheelers and they were banned. More recently, the CPSC outlawed dirt bikes and ATVs for kids
(which was reversed, thankfully), and it also leaned on the Yamaha Rhino
So, by self-regulating, the OEM’s are trying to avoid major catastrophe. Everybody’s all pissed about the law, but the gist of AB 1595 is already laid out in vehicle owner’s manuals. Age and helmet requirements, driving at speeds “reasonable or prudent,” mandatory safety training and prohibiting riding on the highways. (I’m roughly paraphrasing, so check out this link
for more information.)
in particular has been getting kicked in the nuts over its position regarding AB 1595. Unfortunately, it was presented early on that Kawasaki Motors Corp was a co-sponsor/supporter. Yes, Kawasaki does support the bill, but by the definition of the ROHVA organization’s membership, so do the rest of the major OEMs, including Arctic Cat, BRP
, John Deere, Polaris
ROHVA has since clarified this point
All of the major side-by-side manufacturers support AB 1595.
Forum and social media rants claim it’s Kawi’s fault because the Japanese giant wants to force users into the four-seat Teryx4 by outlawing any aftermarket seating. That line of thinking would mean Polaris is at fault because it has even more four-passenger vehicles. Same for John Deere; don’t be surprised if Can-Am releases a bigger version of the Commander and I can see the Arctic Cat Wildcat getting stretched as well. I don’t believe this is justified reasoning at all.
Take a look at Yamaha’s mountain of legal cases with the two-seat Rhino. As far as I know they have all been successfully defended so far, finding the culprit to be impaired operation, non-OEM equipment or simple jackasses behind the wheel who were outside of the recommended vehicle use. It makes absolute sense that every OEM spells out very conservative driving and safety protocols in the owner’s manuals. I’d wager to say that none of us actually drive within the recommended parameters; I only use those booklets for torque specs and oil volumes. Regardless, or for that exact reason, there are OEM asses to cover.
I spoke with multiple Kawasaki 4-wheel representatives and they assured me that the green crew had no more and no less involvement with this bill than any other OEM. Whether or not AB 1595 is another infringement on Californian off-roaders’ rights, that’s a separate argument. But as far as the finger pointing and dealer boycotting, if ROHVA sponsored the bill and you’ve got a problem with it, the backlash should be spread evenly.
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