Yamaha Rhino, Other ROV Need Mandatory Standards: CPSC Staff

Federal regulators are calling for tough, new standards on recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV), such as the popular Yamaha Rhino, which has been linked to hundreds of severe and life-threatening injuries as a result of a propensity to rollover.

Staffers at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) have recommended that the commission enact new, mandatory safety requirements for the relatively new class of off-road vehicles. The five-member commission could make a decision as early as this week on whether to push forward with a rulemaking, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

ROVs have risen in popularity since 2003, with more than 416,000 now in use in throughout the United States. According to the CPSC, that rising number has been accompanied by a substantial increase in accidents, with at least 116 dead and 152 injured between 2003 and August 2009.

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In their preliminary evaluations, regulators specifically targeted rollover problems, steering issues and safety as design issues that should probably be addressed by any ROV rulemaking; however they did not give a specific list of proposed requirements to be included in a new rule.

Earlier this year, the CPSC got Yamaha to agree to suspend sales of the Yamaha Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models following a CPSC investigation into 46 occupant deaths, mainly due to Rhino rollover accidents. Despite Yamaha’s claims that driver error was to blame in most cases, the CPSC concluded that the vehicle was unstable and could roll over even on level ground at slow speeds. Yamaha indicated that owners should not use the vehicles until free modifications were made, which included the installation of safety equipment and design changes to make the vehicle more stable.

There are currently about 500 Yamaha Rhino lawsuits pending throughout the United States, which allege that accidents were caused by a defectively designed for the ROV. All federal Yamaha Rhino litigation is consolidated for pretrial litigation in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, before U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman in the Western District of Kentucky. The current scheduling order calls for the first federal Yamaha Rhino trial to begin in June 2010.

1 Comments

  • TomOctober 15, 2009 at 3:15 am

    It would be nice if all makes and models of OHV's including the regular ATV's were included in these lawsuits and new mandatory safety requirements since the previous requirements on ATV's haven't been effective and there are still thousands who are injured and die each year due to these death traps. It's time our government takes a greater stand on these machines and stops treating these BIG BUS[Show More]It would be nice if all makes and models of OHV's including the regular ATV's were included in these lawsuits and new mandatory safety requirements since the previous requirements on ATV's haven't been effective and there are still thousands who are injured and die each year due to these death traps. It's time our government takes a greater stand on these machines and stops treating these BIG BUSINESSES favorably. Is it going to take the death of one of their loved ones before they take stricter actions? Look at the carnage and then tell us these machine are safe.

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