Deadly Rhino: Yamaha Facing Over 200 Lawsuits Over Safety of Off-Road Vehicle

0_61_rhino320The Yamaha Rhino is the target of perhaps the largest array of lawsuits against a vehicle in decades. Over 200 lawsuits have been filed in a trend reminiscent of the lawsuits that led to the removal of the Suzuki Samurai in the 1980s. There have been a reported some 30 deaths involving the Rhino, including those of two young girls last month.

Lawyers have been tracking the accidents on Rhino accident websites.

The dangers of the Rhino may be related to its open design, a two-seat vehicle resembling a golf cart on steroids.
The company insists that the deaths and injuries were due to improper operations and alterations like the removal of the protective roll cage or failure to wear a helmet. It could raise some interesting questions of foreseeable misuse — which is a valid basis for showing a design defect.

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11 thoughts on “Deadly Rhino: Yamaha Facing Over 200 Lawsuits Over Safety of Off-Road Vehicle

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  3. John Sand – I feel that PARENTS are responsible for keeping an eye on their children. I feel that INDIVIDUALS are responsible for THEIR own actions – and if they screw up and get hurt, that they shouldn’t go after the entity with the deepest pockets. How these cases even get past the judges is beyond me…

    Whoever said that the Rhinos are being made to be attractive to kids is ignorant. Have you not seen the plethora of stickers all over UTV’s and ATV’s stating if you are under 16, you are NOT to operate these vehicles?? I have two kids – under the age of 16 – and there is NO WAY I would let either of them drive my Rhino or anyone else’s, for that matter. Nor would they EVER ride in someone else’s without my permission. They know better…..I attribute that to responsible parenting and COMMON SENSE.

    The Rhino (and ALL UTV’s) is at the mercy of the OPERATOR – the operator is the one giving the input at all times. When I hear “I was on flat ground and it just rolled over!” I call B.S! As an experienced UTV/ATV rider, I know that these are safe machines when operated in the manner they were meant to be used….but the only person who can control whether or not they are being driven safely or NOT, is the driver. Where is our COMMON SENSE, people?? Our excessively letigious society makes me sick……

    And Mr. Sand, you are lucky I don’t post the links I found when I researched YOU!

  4. Do you feel Yamaha should be responsible for THEIR actions?
    1) They did NOT test Rhino to see what would hapen to a human in a rollover:http://web.me.com/yamaha.rhino/Site/Welcome__files/%2310%20PROOF.pdf

    2) They originally consider safety doors OR net. but did not put them on:http://web.me.com/yamaha.rhino/Site/Welcome__files/%233%20PROOF.pdf

    3) IN this picture it is suggested that leg protection is needed. They DID put a little wing on, but in my opinion not enough: http://web.me.com/yamaha.rhino/Site/Welcome__files/%2313%20PROOF.pdf

    4) Here are notes from a early meeting where a Yamaha person is questioning the stability of the Rhino: http://web.me.com/yamaha.rhino/Site/Welcome__files/%2314%20mtg%20notes.pdf

    There are THOUSANDS of pages of documents of Yamaha’s showing, in my opinion, their lack of complete testing during the development stage.

  5. I agree with the argument that parents are reponsible for allowing their children to drive these dangerous, motorized vehicles. I do not understand that in a society that mandates very strict laws on drivers education for high school students would allow under age children to drive vehicles that are probably more dangerous than cars when they might not be old enough to drive a car. I see this with boats as well(and snowmobiles). Why aren’t the same driving age requirements necessary to drive boats and jet skis and these Rhinos? Maybe I am just getting old.

  6. I agree with you Former LEO.

    This is another case of some parents allowing children to handle more bang than they physically can.

    Although there were some stories of adults having accidents as well. Like the guy who turned the corner too fast and got his leg pinned. But at 44 yrs of age, he ought to know better than that. Especially if he’s a mechanic.

    I would like to know how many of the adults may have been drinking a bit too much and wanted to try out something new with the Rhino.

  7. Bob, ESq./Former LEO:

    Here’s some info from a 2006 Washington Post Artilce about the hazards:

    “ATVs have been linked to nearly 6,500 deaths since 1982, seriously injured more than 135,000 in 2004 alone. They were responsible for 740 deaths in 2003. About a third of those incidents involved children under 16. Consumers Union and other groups have been pushing for a ban on ATVs for kids and on three-wheeled models, as well as for mandatory safety standards.”

  8. Bob, Esq/Former LEO:

    The three wheelers are gone thanks to the Plaintiff’s bar and the CPSC. I had one of those cases and the consensus among the engineers who examined it was that it was unstable at any speed or exepcted use. The invidious thing about these vehicles (4 wheelers too)is that they are marketed directly to parents as “fun” rides for their kids. Even the product design and paint scheme is pointed towards a more youthful market.

  9. The “trikes” were lawyered out of existence.

    I disagree with the lawsuits. Parents are negligent because they allow children to operate a vehicle meant for adults. I have a very similar Yamaha quad. Such vehicles must be driven carefully and operated by people who are physically and mentally able to control them. No person under 17 should operate a large “Mule”, Rhino, or a quad.

  10. Whatever happened to those three-wheeled vehicles (Trikes?) that were popular in the early 1980’s?

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