by Jim Adler
In case anyone had any doubt about the dangers of Yamaha Rhino ATVs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission makes it clear: They kill people — even when driven at slow speeds and on level surfaces, as is often the case in a fatal Yamaha Rhino rollover accident.
After a study of 50 incidents involving the Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models — incidents which claimed 46 driver and passenger deaths — the CPSC concluded that these vehicles, as designed and manufactured by Yamaha, should not be driven by anyone, anywhere, anytime. “Owners of the affected Rhinos should stop using them,” the CPSC urged.
Beyond that, the CPSC has arranged for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA to launch a free repair program for these models. Owners are advised to take their vehicle to a Rhino dealer for the free installation of a spacer on the rear wheels and for installation of half-doors and additional passenger handholds to help occupants keep their arms and legs inside the vehicle during a rollover.
Yamaha also will remove a rear anti-sway bar to reduce the chance of a rollover and to improve vehicle handling, always a big problem with the dangerous ATVs it produced.
Of the 50 incidents the CPSC studied, more than two-thirds involved rollovers, many of them at low speeds and on level terrain. Imagine how much greater the risk can be when the Rhino is driven on the kind of rugged off-road trail for which it’s intended.
The CPSC also reports that Yamaha has voluntarily agreed to cease selling such vehicles immediately until they are repaired.
Federal officials estimate that Yamaha sold 120,000 of its 450 and 660 vehicles since their introduction in 2003. Also part of the repair program are 25,000 of the 700 model vehicles. At a price of around $10,000 each, those numbers add up to roughly $1.5 billion in sales for Yamaha.
Was it worth it, Yamaha? Would you be making these repairs if your vehicles were safe? Would you be cooperating with the feds if you hadn’t made significant design and manufacturing errors? The answers are clear. While amassing many millions in profits, Yamaha utterly failed American consumers, too many of whom have paid the ultimate price — death — due to Yamaha’s clearly proven negligence.
If you or a loved one owns a Yamaha Rhino ATV, heed the CPSC’s advice and do not operate it. Rather, take it to your Yamaha dealer for free repairs, and even then, be sure to wear a helmet and a seatbelt, and don’t let anyone under 16 years old drive it.
If, however, you or a loved one already has been harmed by a Yamaha Rhino rollover accident or other Yamaha Rhino ATV accident, get an experienced Yamaha Rhino accident lawyer on your side. Fill out the free case review form on this Web page to alert a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Jim S. Adler & Associates, then get the legal support you need for a Yamaha Rhino lawsuit. Someone must pay for Yamaha’s negligence, and that someone should not be you.
Upon issuing a statement about the repair program this week, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord said, “Today’s announcement concerning Yamaha Rhino vehicles is a critical step toward increasing family safety. I personally have been so concerned about the number of deaths and injuries associated with these vehicles that I directed staff to step up their investigative efforts.”
For that, we extend our thanks to the CPSC. For Yamaha, we continue to extend blame. Too many Americans have died or been seriously injured due to Yamaha’s negligence, and the CPSC’s ruling is just one more step in a lengthy process of setting things right.
Another step is to hold Yamaha accountable for its negligence in the legal arena. Your Adler Yamaha Rhino accident attorney is ready to do just that.
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