The Yamaha Rhino has been a subject of controversy that has recently grown to massive proportions in the legal field. With problems in development and testing, mishaps early in the Rhino’s history would have affects that would create a butterfly affect years later. In fact, even in early testing the vice president in charge of the Rhino’s development, Ike Miyachi, was reportedly injured while testing the Yamaha Rhino 660.
Keisuke Yoshida, the driver of the Rhino and president of a US based Yamaha Motors subsidiary, raised the question only weeks later about the instability of the vehicle and possible future liability cases. Even with this question, the Rhino was released, and was an immediate success. The Rhino sold more than 150,000 in 15 months. With this explosion in sales came an explosion in consumer injuries and deaths. Within that time approximately 59 riders have been killed in accidents involving the Rhino, and there are currently more than 440 wrongful death or personal injury Rhino lawsuits pending.
With this influx of liability suits, Yamaha began recalling Rhinos for repair. In fact, Yamaha has recalled practically every part of its Rhino “side by side”. Although the Rhino was marketed as an off road vehicle, it does not have the traditional set up of motorcycle style seating. Instead it’s driver and passenger sit side by side instead of the normal tandem setup. The Rhino also has a tighter frame, in order to allow it to navigate easier through rocks and fit into the back of pickup trips without the need for a pull behind trailor. This shortened frame however has casued great instability in the Rhino 660s design and has caused thousands of rollovers with consumers. Rollovers in Rhinos have even occurred during test drives at dealerships as recently denoted in the CBS NEWS story on this topic.
These crashes are not just due to high speeds or reckless driving. Serious accidents have even occurred at low to moderate speeds within normal conditions. Rhino Accidents have also been reported on flat ground, which is much tamer than the wild terrain the Rhino has and continues to be marketed for.
Yamaha contends that it is operator error that is responsible for the crashes and not faulty designs. Rhino crashes have occurred to drivers under 16, with crashes reported with drivers as young as 12. Although the rules and regulations of being 16 to operate an all terrain vehicle still apply, the vehicles design still needs some simple changes that would have prevented many of these accidents from occurring.
For more coverage of the Rhino ATV, CBS has multiple videos outlining Rhino “side by side” crashes at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5214842n&tag=related;photovideo
If you or anyone you know has been injured by a Rhino 660, consult the our Yamaha Rhino Attorneys now.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer again in 2019, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys and a Top 100 Lawyer in Georgia by the National Trial Lawyers in 2019.