Product Liability

Labor Day weekend Rhino rollover

Two youngsters in Amador County, California, were injured over the Labor Day weekend when the Rhino in which they were traveling rolled over during a turn, according to the local Ledger Dispatch. Both the driver and passenger were 17 years old. Their names have not been released due to their being minors.

The Ledger Dispatch reports the driver, who was from Livermore, received “major injuries” to his neck and face, and was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center for treatment. The passenger, a resident of Galt, endured injuries to her neck and right arm and also was airlifted for treatment, to Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael.

According to the news agency, the accident occurred Aug. 30 at close to 2:30 p.m., when the driver steered into a sharp left turn and the vehicle rolled over. Neither the driver nor the passenger were wearing seatbelts or helmets at the time of the accident, the report states.

The Ledger Dispath noted the Yamaha Rhino has been linked to rollovers since its introduction in 2003, and cites a report from U.S. Recall News, saying riders and passengers have suffered “debilitating fractures” when pinned under the weight of the vehicle. The two teens injured in the Saturday accident were in a 2007 model Yamaha Rhino.

In August 2007, the Yamaha Motor Corporation sent a safety bulletin to Rhino owners advising that the vehicle could be returned to Yamaha dealers for installation of new safety equipment – doors and passenger handholds, to improve the vehicle’s safety following numerous reports of rollover accidents and injuries.

The 2007 Yamaha Rhino owner’s manual was updated to include the new doors and handholds, and Rhino owners were provided a supplemental guide about the new safety features, and a label for the Rhino dashboard outlining the risk of vehicle rollover. Doors and passenger handholds were made standard features in the 2008 model of the Yamaha Rhino.

It is unclear from the Ledger Dispatch report whether the Yamaha Rhino involved in the weekend’s rollover accident had doors or handholds.