Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a free repair program to address safety issues for about 120,000 Rhino 450 and Rhino 660 vehicles, according to the (CPSC).
The CPSC staff has investigated more than 50 incidents involving 46 driver and passenger deaths in these two Rhino models, a press release stated. More than two-thirds of the cases involved rollovers and many involved riders that were not wearing seatbelts.
Of the rollover-related deaths and reported injuries, many appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain, the press release stated. The reported deaths occurred between the fall of 2003 when the vehicles were first distributed through this year.
In a written statement, acting CPSC Chairman Nancy Nord said “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. I am very pleased that the agency and Yamaha have identified safety repairs and I strongly encourage owners of the Rhino 450 and 660 models to get these repairs as soon as possible.”
The repair program is designed to reduce rollover risk, as well as improve handling and keep riders’ limbs inside the vehicles.
A press release said Yamaha has agreed to voluntarily suspend sale of these models immediately until the agreed-upon repairs are made.
In a press release issued by Yamaha, the manufacturer said, “While more than 99 percent of Rhino owners use the product without incident, CPSC and Yamaha examined the small segment of Rhino owners who have had an incident on the product to develop modifications that may help reduce the chance of rollover and improve vehicle handling in certain situations. Yamaha stands behind the Rhino and is proud of the Rhino’s safety record and safety features.”