More than 145,000 Yamaha Rhino off-road vehicles were recalled recently, following an investigation by U.S. regulators. Earlier this week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it had investigated 50 Rhino accidents that led to 46 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries. According to the CPSC, more than two-thirds of the accident cases involved rollovers.
There have been hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of the victims injured in Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents. It has been suggested that the Yamaha Rhino is more likely to be involved in a rollover accident than many of the other off-road vehicles. Critics have said that the Yamaha Rhino is top heavy and that its tires are extremely narrow. These design defects make the off-road vehicle more prone to tip while going through sharp turns. Passengers’ legs are also not protected in a rollover accident due to the design of the vehicle.
Yamaha has been accused of being too slow to acknowledge the Rhino’s rollover problems. The company did send out a letter in September 2006 to owners of the vehicles warning about the rollover risk, but the wording seemed to place blame on the victims.
The CPSC and Yamaha have announced a recall of all Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models distributed since fall of 2003. Yamaha will be repairing the recalled vehicles free of charge. In addition, Yamaha is offering to extend a free helmet offer to owners of the affected Yamaha Rhinos.