April 2, 2018
Polaris Fine and Recall Should Begin Tougher CPSC Sanctions
Statement of Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights, Public Citizen
Note: Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that the recreational off-road vehicle (ROV) maker, Polaris Industries Inc., agreed to pay a $27.25 million civil penalty for failing to warn the agency that some of its ROV models contained defects that could create a substantial product hazard or that the ROVs created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. It is the largest civil penalty to be imposed by the CPSC. In addition, the agency also announced a series of recalls for some of Polaris’ ROVs.
Today’s announcement is important because the CPSC, the nation’s chief product safety agency, should be serious about holding manufacturers accountable when they willfully fail to inform the CPSC about unsafe products. This fine is the largest civil penalty to be imposed by the agency, and we hope that it is the beginning of an upward trend in civil penalties against manufacturers that release unsafe products into the marketplace. Historically, the CPSC has been far too slow to hold companies accountable.
Congress can do two things immediately to help the CPSC carry out its important mission. First, it should end its shameful use of appropriations riders to restrain the commission’s ability to regulate ROVs. Industry would benefit from commonsense rules. Second, Congress should increase the agency’s funding, so it has the resources needed to police the more than 15,000 products it regulates.