Yamaha Rhino Safety Issues Prompt CPSC to Issue Reminder Warning
In the wake of a CBS News investigation into safety issues with the Yamaha Rhino off-road vehicle, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a reminder warning Wednesday about free vehicle repairs and a helmet giveaway offered by Yamaha to improve the safety of the Rhino ATV.
The CPSC safety message, titled “Off-Roading With Safety: CPSC Reminder to Yamaha Rhino Riders To Stay Safe This Summer”, urges owners to take their vehicles to a Yamaha dealership for the free upgrades designed to enhance stability, reduce the risk of a Rhino rollover and improve safety for riders.
Since the Yamaha Rhino was first introduced in Fall 2003, it has been found to have a high propensity to rollover, even under normal operating conditions on level terrain. Safety advocates have argued that the Yamaha Rhino has an unreasonably dangerous design, with a high center of gravity, small wheels, narrow frame and powerful engine, which make it prone to rollover.
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In March 2009, Yamaha Motor Corp, U.S.A. agreed to suspend sales and offer the design modifications after the U.S. CPSC began looking into the Yamaha Rhino safety issues. Following a broadcast Tuesday night on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, which highlighted the Rhino rollover problems and the number of serious injuries and deaths suffered by users, the CPSC issued this reminder warning on August 5.
The Yamaha Rhino safety improvements include the addition of half-doors, additional passenger hand holds, spacers on the rear wheels to increase stability, and the removal of an anti-sway bar.
The CPSC also indicated that while the repairs are designed to reduce the risk of a rollover or injury, Yamaha Rhino riders and passengers should also take the following precautions:
- Always properly wear a seat belt
- Always wear a helmet
- Never remove the half-doors
- Never allow children younger than 16 to drive
- Never allow a child to be a passenger if he or she cannot place both feet on the floor with his or her back against the seat
- Only operate off-road, not on public roads or paved surfaces.
There are more than 440 Yamaha Rhino lawsuits pending throughout the United States for riders who suffered severe or fatal injuries. All federal cases have been consolidated in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, before U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman in the Western District of Kentucky. However, the first trial is expected to be a Texas state court wrongful death lawsuit over the Yamaha Rhino, scheduled to begin this month.
JohnAugust 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm
I have a 2007 Rhino 660 and have been trying since February, 2009 to get the repairs done to my Rhino. As of this date I am still being told by the Dealer that they have not been sent the necesary part to perform the repairs. Seems to me Yamaha is not taking this seriously. How do I get the repairs done?
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