The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has expressed concerns regarding current proposals to modify All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

“A farm is a workplace, and according to Safe Work Australia, agriculture is Australia’s most dangerous industry,” chief executive, Tony Weber, said.

“An ATV is an important farming tool, which greatly aids the productivity of our agricultural sector. However, if not used correctly, it can pose risks.

“The answer is to make three fundamental behavioural changes to how people work with ATVs – behaviours that are plain common sense when using tools in any workplace:

  1. Don’t let children operate the vehicle
  2. Wear a helmet
  3. Educate users

“It’s as simple as that,” Mr Weber said.

In the eight years to December 2018 there have been 128 quad bike fatalities in Australia.

But the fitting of Crush Protection Devices (CPDs) has been a bone of contention between regulators and manufacturers for several years.

In 2012, then Minister Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, said CPDs would be introduced for all bikes used by federal employers and that rider training would also be introduced.

But the Government stopped short of making them mandatory.

Years later the FCAI says it has seen no evidence-based research that proves CPDs are the answer.

Honda which builds ATVs has threatened to stop selling the machines here if a draft standard proposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission becomes law.

“Bolting on an unproven device is not a silver bullet making rural workplaces safe,” Mr Weber said.

“Rollover simulation trials and university studies have shown that CPDs have no safety benefit in an ATV rollover.

“Surely, a better approach is education of users and the wearing of helmets.

“We need the National Farmers Federation and State and Federal Governments to stop messing about with unproven solutions.

“Dangerous and misleading assumptions that CPDs are a safety silver bullet belie reality, and risk greater complacency by users of these serious farming tools.

“We need to start educating people on how to use these tools safely and stop needless injuries and deaths in our country’s farming community,” Mr Weber said.

Public submissions on the draft changes proposed by the ACCC will be accepted until June 10.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.