Many emails ( a LOT! ) have been coming in to The Kneeslider asking why I have not mentioned the issue of youth motorcycles and ATVs being essentially taken off the market due to the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The problem is, I don’t know where to start. This incredibly far reaching law goes far beyond the children’s off highway vehicle market, it affects anything sold to children 12 and under.
Virginia Postrel notes:
Under the law it is now illegal, … to sell or distribute any product–toy, book, clothes, electronic gadget, you name it–aimed primarily at children 12 and under without first having every accessible element in that product–fabric, appliques, ink, zippers, buttons, switches, doll hair, you name it–certified by a third-party lab (not, for instance, the zipper maker) as having less than 600 parts per million of lead. The law includes substantial criminal penalties and allows state attorneys general, as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to enforce its provisions.
In response to one of the emails I received I said:
Safety regulators are all smiling and congratulating themselves on a job well done and moving on to their next conquest, oblivious to the damage they cause. While congress rushes to spend hundreds of billions to stimulate the economy because we’re losing jobs, regulators are doing their best to destroy jobs.
There is growing opposition to this law from many quarters. Regulators are digging in their heels, saying big toy makers are behind the complaints, when in fact, it is the thousands of small businesses most affected, who are going out of business because of the cost and practical impossibility of compliance.
The AMA is asking everyone to contact their representatives in Washington asking for specific exclusions for the powersports industry. That is one course of action, but a law filled with exclusions and waivers is bad law and it will become hopelessly complex for anyone trying to begin a business in a market where laws like this are in place. This law needs drastic revision or repeal.
There is much more that can be said about it but I would recommend reading the posts by Virginia Postrel linked below and quoted above giving a good rundown of the law and its effects.
Also, Senator Jim DeMint has a proposal to change the law which seems very reasonable and deserves attention.
You may also wish to try the AMA’s proposed action of asking for a powersports exemption.
Any improvement to this law is better than none, but as it sits, many small businesses may be driven to close their doors, the entire youth powersports industry is only one very visible example many of you may have an interest in but don’t ignore the many other businesses equally affected. It’s worth your time to look into this and form your own conclusions.