Yamaha Recalls “Rhino” Off-Road Vehicles After 46 Rollover Deaths

Yamaha Recalls “Rhino” Off-Road Vehicles After 46 Rollover Deaths

Yamaha Motor Corp. announced today that it is recalling its Rhino 450 and 660 off-road vehicles for free repairs after the company received reports of 46 rollover deaths involving the popular two-seater vehicles.

The Yamaha Rhino recall was announced today by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About 120,000 of the two Rhino models have been sold nationwide since going on sale in the fall of 2003. There have been 46 reports of driver and passenger deaths involving the Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660 models, with the majority of accidents involving rollovers and unbelted occupants, and most occurring at low speeds and on level terrain, CPSC reports

The free repair offered by Yamaha will include a number of fixes to try to improve the vehicle’s handling and reduce the chance of a rollover: 1) installation of a spacer on the vehicle’s rear wheels, 2) removal of the rear anti-sway bar,  and 3) installation of half doors and passenger handholds (if not previously installed) to help keep riders’ arms and legs inside the vehicle, according to the CPSC.

Rhino RecallIssues of consumer safety, as they pertain to vehicles, are ripe for litigation outcomes.  Using a car, motorcycle, SUV, ATV, etc., carries an inherent risk of physical harm, or even death, due to the nature of these machines; they are big, heavy, go very fast, and are on roads and streets with many other users of varying degrees of proficiency when it comes to operating them safely.

Additionally, these machines are complex.  There are thousands of individual parts in even the “simplest” of these vehicles.  A large number of these parts are essential for the vehicle to function.  In terms of safe operation, there are literally hundreds of ways that a poorly designed, assembled, or maintained part can cause a serious accident.  That is why it is essential to demonstrate irresponsible oversight in the design and manufacture of a vehicle before a claim of liability can potentially be litigated.  

The manufacturers of the machines want to provide consumers with a safe, enjoyable experience, but that desire from a corporate standpoint, may fail in execution as individuals, from the CEO on down, may turn a blind-eye to obvious safety concerns or design flaws due to the fact that addressing them with the proper ethical oversight and due diligence could result in manufacturing delays or rework costs that are considered too injurious to the bottom-line.

It is especially for this frailty of human nature that consumers must retain the ability to hold bad actors accountable for irresponsible behavior, especially when the health and well-being of ourselves and our loved-ones are at stake. There are indeed many attorneys why will seek to capitalize on the misfortune of others – regardless of real liability – if the potential defendant has deep pockets and a massive payday looms.  However, the majority of lawyers want to not only protect and serve clients who have been wrongfully injured, but they also wish to provide the impetus to these manufacturers to simply do better, as that is good for all of us in the long run.


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