All Terrain Vehicles can offer hours of outdoor fun, but a safe design is imperative to passenger safety. Expert analysis and accident statistics have shown the Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660 ATVs to be defectively designed, resulting in serious accidents. Features such as a high center of gravity, small wheels and a narrow wheelbase can cause the vehicle to rollover easily, resulting in serious injury and death. After years of inaction, Yamaha, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suspended sales in March 2009 and began offering a free repair kit to address safety issues with all Rhino 450, 660, and 700 model off-highway recreational vehicles.
The Rhino was designed with a powerful engine, fast acceleration and a small turning radius. Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents have occurred even when the ATV is on a flat surface and traveling at a low rate of speed. Further, the current design of the Rhino does not provide adequate passenger protection, increasing the likelihood of a serious injury or fatality as a result of a rollover accident. Even while wearing their seatbelts and following precautions outlined in the manual, occupants still run a substantial risk of serious or catastrophic injury if they are involved in a crash.
The first reports of Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents were recorded shortly after the vehicle was introduced in 2003, but it would be nearly three years before Yamaha even acknowledged that its customers were being hurt by this dangerous vehicle. Yamaha later added warning decals to the vehicles, some even being mailed to Rhino owners after they were seriously injured by the vehicle rolling over. Yamaha began offering to add plastic doors and passenger handles to Yamaha Rhino ATVs manufactured between 2004 and 2007 in an effort to curb serious injuries, as seen in Yamaha’s Supplement to the Owner’s Manual. Yamaha’s current (March 2009) repair program includes the installation of a spacer on the rear wheels as well as the removal of the rear anti-sway bar to help reduce the chance of rollover and improve vehicle handling, and continued installation of the half doors and handholds.
The Didier Law Firm specializes in complex design defect cases, and in fighting hard for justice for its clients. If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a rollover Rhino ATV accident, contact us today to review your case.