BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 64
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                    AB 64 (Donnelly) - As Amended:  April 17, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :  Recreational Off Highway Vehicles

           SUMMARY  :  Changes passenger seating and safety requirements for  
          recreational off-highway vehicles (ROHVs).  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :  

          1)Prohibits a driver of a ROHV from allowing a passenger to  
            occupy a separate seat location not designed and provided by a  
            manufacturer if the ROHV is model year 2014 or later.

          2)Authorizes passengers in ROHVs of model year 2013 or earlier  
            to occupy seat locations not designed and installed by the  
            manufacturer provided that the occupant is fully contained  
            inside the vehicle's rollover protection structure at all  
            times while the vehicle is being operated.  

          3)Defines an occupant handhold as a factory or aftermarket  
            device grasped by an occupant to provide support and to assist  
            in keeping arms and hands within the ROHV.  

          4)Specifies that the steering wheel is considered an occupant  
            handhold for ROHV operators.

          5)Requires that occupant handholds be designed to allow the ROHV  
            passenger to exit the vehicle without interference from the  
            handholds.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Generally allows a person of any age to operate an off-highway  
            vehicle (OHV) provided that the person can reach the controls  
            necessary to operate the vehicle safely. 

          2)Prescribes various rules for the operation of and equipment on  
            specified OHVs.

          3)Defines ROHVs as a motor vehicle designed for operation  
            primarily off of the highway and that has a steering wheel,  
            non-straddle seating for the operator and passengers, a  








                                                                  AB 64
                                                                  Page  2

            maximum speed capability of greater than 30 miles per hour,  
            and an engine displacement equal to or less than 1,000 cubic  
            centimeters.

          4)Includes ROHVs among OHVs subject to Department of Motor  
            Vehicles (DMV) registration and identification requirements. 

          5)Establishes requirements for the operation of ROHVs on public  
            lands, including: 

             a)   Requires ROHV operators to be at least 16 years old or  
               be directly supervised in the vehicle by a parent,  
               guardian, or adult authorized by a parent or guardian; 

             b)   Requires ROHV operators and passengers to wear safety  
               helmets and properly fastened seatbelts and shoulder belts  
               when the vehicle is moving; and,

             c)   Prohibits passengers of ROHVs to occupy a seat location  
               not designed and provided by the manufacturer beginning on  
               July 1, 2013.  

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  AB 1595 (Cook), Chapter 165, Statutes of 2012,  
          defined ROHVs as a motor vehicle designed for operation  
          primarily off of the highway and that has a steering wheel,  
          non-straddle seating for the operator and passengers, a maximum  
          speed capability of greater than 30 miles per hour, and an  
          engine displacement equal to or less than 1,000 cubic  
          centimeters.  In addition to describing an ROHV, AB 1595  
          established certain requirements for their safe operation on  
          public lands including, among other things, the requirement that  
          all ROHV passengers must ride in seats installed by the original  
          manufacturer and that all ROHV passengers must be able to place  
          both feet flat on the floorboard while seated upright.  The  
          provision for manufacturer-installed passenger seating was  
          included to prevent ROHV vehicle owners from installing unsafe  
          seating and the provision requiring individuals to have both  
          feet on the floor when grasping the handhold was intended to  
          discourage unsafe passenger movements in the vehicle.   

          Following the enactment of AB 1595 in July of 2012, numerous  
          RHOV user groups and individuals raised concerns about the  
          passenger seating provisions of this bill.  With regard to  








                                                                  AB 64
                                                                  Page  3

          manufacturer installed passenger seating, user groups noted that  
          aftermarket passenger seats are routinely installed on ROHVs and  
          that the provision in AB 1595 banning their use would prevent  
          many ROHV owners from operating their vehicles in California.   
          Additionally, the requirement that all passengers be able to  
          grasp handholds with their feet flat on the floor would mean the  
          persons of short stature and children would be precluded from  
          riding in ROHVs.  

          AB 1266 (Nielsen), Chapter 529, Statutes of 2012, was introduced  
          to addresses ROHV owners' late-rising concerns by delaying the  
          effective date of the requirement that all passengers must  
          occupy seats provided by the vehicle manufacturer from January  
          1, 2013, until July 1, 2013, in order to give ROHV owners  
          additional time to comply or for legislation to be introduced in  
          the upcoming legislative session to better define after-market  
          seat requirements.  

          According to the author, this bill, which is identical to SB 234  
          (Walters), would allow ROHV owners who have modified passenger  
          seating in their ROHVs (model year of 2013 or earlier) to  
          continue to use these vehicles in California provided that the  
          aftermarket passenger seat is fully contained inside of the  
          ROHV's rollover protection structure while the vehicle is being  
          operated.  Owners of ROHVs with a model year of 2014 or later,  
          however, would be required to have manufacturer-installed  
          passenger seating.  

          The bill also addresses the ability of children and persons of  
          short stature to continue to ride as passengers in ROHVs by  
          clarifying that an "occupant handhold" can be any factory or  
          aftermarket device.  This clarification would allow ROHV  
          operators to install handholds in locations that would allow  
          children and persons of smaller stature to reach the handholds  
          while keeping their feet on the floor, and back against the seat  
          while wearing a seatbelt and safety harness, as required by law.  
           

           Related legislation  :  SB 234 (Walters), which is identical to AB  
          64, limits the requirement due to take effect on July 1, 2013,  
          that passengers in a ROHV may only sit in seats installed by the  
          original manufacturer to ROHVs with a 2014 or later model year  
          and defines clarifies the definition of a handhold in an ROHV.   
          That bill was passed by the Senate Transportation and Housing  
          Committee and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate  








                                                                  AB 64
                                                                  Page  4

          Appropriations Committee.  

          SB 334 (Fuller) is an urgency statute that would further delay  
          the implementation of AB 1595 (Cook) Chapter 165, Statutes of  
          2012, that prohibit ROHV passengers from occupying a seat  
          location not designed and provided by the manufacture until  
          January 1 2015.  That bill, which was scheduled to be heard in  
          the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, was cancelled  
          at the request of the author.  

           Previous legislation:   AB 1595 (Cook) Chapter 165, Statutes of  
          2012, defined recreational off-highway ROHVs and prescribes  
          safety regulations for their use in California.  

          AB 1266 (Nielsen) Chapter 529, Statutes of 2012, delayed the  
          effective date of a recently-enacted requirement that ROHV  
          passengers must occupy seats provided by the vehicle  
          manufacturer and deletes the requirement that ROHV passengers be  
          able to place both feet flat on the floor board when riding in  
          an ROHV.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          ABATE 
          14 Individuals

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :   Victoria Alvarez / TRANS. / (916) 319-  
          2093