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Feds May Outlaw Passengers on ATVs

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has officially requested for Information regarding passenger use of ATVs.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing a notice seeking information from the public on the prevalence of carrying passengers on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the feasibility of a performance requirement that would prevent passengers from being carried on ATVs.

Written comments must be submitted at their website: http://www.regulations.gov

Or by mail to:

Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814.

They are asking that you include the docket number: CPSC-2012-0048 and preferably include five copies. They also accept compact disks. You may telephone the CSPC at (301) 504-7923.

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To ensure the timely processing of comments, the Commission is no longer accepting emailed comments except through their website.

The CPSC writes that since the 1980s, they have addressed ATV safety through various activities, including rule making, recalls, consumer education, media outreach following fatal incidents, and litigation. Despite their efforts, ATV-related fatalities continue to be one of the largest categories of consumer product-related deaths. ATV safety, therefore, remains an ongoing Commission concern. Most recently, to assess the impact of passenger use of ATVs, the Commission Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Plan tasked CPSC staff with “assessing the inclusion of a performance standard related to preventing passengers on ATVs.”

The Commission is asking in this request for information (RFI) that stakeholders provide information s related to passenger use of ATVs. The CPSC is asking specifically: whether a performance requirement to prevent passenger use of ATVs is appropriate, what is “the prevalence of passenger use and the reasons,‘ ‘why passengers ride on ATVs,” potential means of preventing passengers from being carried on ATVs not intended for that purpose and potential impacts of these requirements on the utility of ATVs.

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In August 2006, the Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) that proposed: informational and training requirements for four-wheeled, adult, single-rider and tandem ATVs; technical performance requirements for four-wheeled, adult, single-rider and tandem ATVs; technical requirements for four-wheeled, youth ATVs; and a ban of three-wheeled ATVs.

Following that effort the popular three-wheeled ATVs were outlawed. The Commission hosted an ATV Safety Summit to “provide stakeholders an opportunity to present their views on the outstanding issues” related to ATV safety, in addition to providing a forum for stakeholders to discuss new innovations in ATV safety on October 11 and 12, 2012, and accepted comments through November 14, 2012. A summary of these comments is available on CPSC’s website.

The Commission’s Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Plan directed staff to: consult with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the categorization of youth ATVs, as well as the establishment of additional safety standards for ATVs; assess the inclusion in the NPR of a performance standard related to preventing passengers on ATVs; contracting for further testing of a child-resistant ATV ignition prototype device; conduct a literature review and develop a testing strategy to evaluate steering and stability issues related to ATVs; and conduct a literature review and analysis regarding roll-over protection systems for ATVs.

The CPSC has begun a three year effort to conduct an ATV off-road exposure survey. The CPSC staff now wants input from stakeholders related to passengers on ATVs. Specifically, they want information on the prevalence of passengers riding on ATVs and the feasibility of establishing a performance requirement that would prevent or reduce the likelihood of passengers riding on an ATV. The example given was a performance requirement could prevent an ATV from being able to carry a passenger on a seat or cargo rack. The CPSC claims however that any law or regulation aimed at changing consumer use of ATVs, such as a law to prohibit ATV use by passengers, would need to be addressed at the state level.

According to CPSC staff’s special study on ATV-related deaths and emergency department-treated injuries passengers comprise about 25 percent of injured victims. From 2005 through 2007, about 25 percent of fatalities involved ATVs with multiple riders; however, a passenger was the victim in slightly less than half of those fatalities with multiple riders, meaning that about 10 percent of fatalities are to a passenger of an ATV. In addition, the recent pilot study of ATV-related fatalities found that of 502 reported incidents with more than one rider on the ATV, more than 80 percent involved two riders: a driver and a passenger. Of those, about half involved both riders on the seat of the ATV, and the driver was more likely to be fatally injured than the passenger. Around 10 percent of passenger-related fatal incidents involved more than two riders (i.e., a driver and two or more passengers). When two or more passengers were involved, a passenger was more likely to be fatally injured.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday to visit coast impacted by Hurricane Sally

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey Held a post Hurricane Sally Press Conference at Alabama EMA headquarters in Clanton, Ala. Thursday September 17, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey plans to visit Alabama’s coastline on Friday to see for herself the damage caused by Hurricane Sally. 

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Following the flyover Ivey will meet behind closed doors with Alabama Emergency Management Agency director Brian Hastings, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, her staff, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, and local officials for a briefing. 

Ivey at noon on Friday is to hold a press conference at the Gulf State Park Lodge, followed by a flyover of Dauphin Island and another closed-door meeting before another press conference set for 3 p.m. at Dauphin Island City Hall to give an update on the state’s recovery efforts 

At least one person in Alabama died as a result of Hurricane Sally, the state’s EMA director Brian Hastings said earlier on Thursday.

More than 130,000 Alabama Power customers along the coast and Southeast Alabama were without power Thursday afternoon.

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Governor

Governor awards grant to expand court facility dog program

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $1.17 million to continue and expand a statewide program that helps children and others who have been victims of crime feel more at ease when testifying in court or undergoing other crime-related interviews.

The grant to the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services will enable that state agency to continue its facility dog program.

The program uses specially trained dogs to calm traumatized victims when they are called into the courtroom or interview room to recount details of often horrific crimes committed against them.

“I cannot imagine what victims, especially children, have to go through when they are called before strangers to recall what is often a very personal and sensitive tragedy that they have difficulty even relaying to family members,” Ivey said. “This program has proven beyond successful and has been admired and modeled by other states. I am pleased to support its continuation and expansion here in Alabama.”

Facility dogs have been used more than 1,000 times including forensic interviews, court hearings, medical examinations and other case-related matters. The dogs are based in several counties, but according to the Office of Prosecution Services, are available for use throughout the state.   

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The facility dog program has been vastly successful and well received throughout the state,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “Although we would prefer that there would be no reason for this program to even exist, ADECA joins with Gov. Ivey in assisting with its continued success.”

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Ivey notified Barry Matson, executive director of Prosecution Services, that the grant had been approved. 

ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, victim programs, economic development, water resource management, energy conservation and recreation.

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Elections

Secretary of State extends absentee voting for Senate District 26 special election

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Secretary of State John Merrill has officially extended the opportunity for anyone concerned about COVID-19 to apply for and cast an absentee ballot for the Senate District 26 special election.

The special primary election for Senate District 26 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The general election will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual.

State law allows the secretary of state to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]” unless another box applies.

For the Nov. 17 primary election, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, Nov. 12. If delivered by hand, absentee ballots must be returned by Monday, Nov. 16. If delivered by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 16.

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National

Jones introduces bill to forgive CARES Act loans for small businesses impacted by hurricanes

Eddie Burkhalter

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Sen. Doug Jones speaks during a live-streamed press briefing. (VIA JONES CAMPAIGN)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, on Thursday introduced legislation that would forgive small business loans made under the CARES Act in counties hard-hit by Hurricanes Sally and Laura. 

The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020 would establish a process for businesses in counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, according to a press release from Jones’s office. 

“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs.” 

“Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” Jones continued. 

To qualify under the program, impacted businesses would have to provide their lenders with a form stating they used the loans as intended in order to receive loan forgiveness. The Small Business Administration would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans, according to the release. 

Alabama businesses received $6.2 billion in PPP loans, which closed at the end of Aug. 8. As of that time, there had been a total of 41,243 EIDL loans totaling $1.84 billion issued to small businesses in Alabama.

Jones in May called for increased guidance and loan forgiveness for small businesses that applied for PPP loans.

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In April, he supported legislation to replenish PPP funds and gave additional relief to Alabama’s small businesses. Jones also introduced legislation in May to fund payrolls of eligible businesses to help business owners cover workers’ wages during the pandemic.

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