April 2007

Senate To Consider HB2443 Re: OHV Safety

PHOENIX — Recent off-highway vehicle (OHV) crashes, including one that killed a 14-year-old eastern Arizona boy last month, emphasize the need for all riders to follow safety precautions and wear proper riding equipment every time they hit the trails.

In order to prevent tragedies, OHV enthusiasts are working with a broad and diverse coalition of outdoor-user groups, land-management agencies, county and local governments, sportsmen, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department to enact House Bill 2443 into law.

The Arizona House of Representatives already approved the measure by a vote of 51-4. Now, the Arizona Senate will consider the bill introduced by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale. HB 2443 would strengthen safety standards by requiring individuals younger than 18 to wear a helmet.

It would also improve equipment criteria for brakes, head and taillights, spark arrestors, and safety flags for sand-dune riding. The bill would also increase resources for law enforcement and rider education and safety programs.

“OHV use in Arizona has dramatically increased by about 350 percent, or nearly 39 percent per year, since 1998,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Assistant Director of Field Operations Mike Senn. “Unfortunately, with that many people out enjoying their OHVs, the odds of accidents also have increased. HB 2443 will enhance safety equipment requirements to help prevent or minimize needless injuries and fatalities.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 147 Arizonans died in OHV-related accidents from 1982 to 2005, the most recent data available.  During the same period, nearly 7,188 deaths involving OHVs occurred nationwide. The CPSC estimates about one-third of all people involved in OHV accidents are children.

House Bill 2443 —

  • Would expand safety standards, including a requirement for individuals younger than 18 to wear appropriate headgear.
  • Would improve equipment standards to require adequate brakes, head and tail lights and spark arrestors to prevent fires. Better muffler and sound requirements are also included. 
  • Would bolster resources for OHV management, including trails and facilities, access, law enforcement, education, safety and mitigation for damage.
  • Would enact new laws that will better protect Arizona’s natural resources from inappropriate use of OHVs.
  • Would dramatically reduce the current Vehicle License Tax to just $3. This tax allows properly equipped all-terrain cycles (dirt bikes), all-terrain vehicles (quads), and utility vehicles on streets and highways.
  • Would create a small, annual flat fee for a license plate for off-highway vehicle use.

To read the full text of House Bill 2443, visit the Arizona State Legislature Web site at azleg.gov. Also, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site, azgfd.gov/ohv, for more information on the bill.