Australia’s Daily Telegraph reports that Yamaha Australia is not extending the same Rhino UTV “voluntary repair program” to Australians that it did to Americans. On March 31, Yamaha America and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission jointly announced that all Rhino customers should return their vehicles to their dealerships for a series of safety upgrades. Additionally, Yamaha instructed its dealerships to cease selling any new Rhino inventory until those upgrades were made.
The CPSC’s investigation of Rhino accidents found that an unreasonably high number of rollover-related deaths and injuries occurred while the vehicles were driven at low speeds and on flat terrain. Since 2003, when the Rhino first debuted on the U.S. market, it has been blamed for 46 deaths and hundreds of injuries, many of which are serious and life-altering. Consumers have filed some 200 lawsuits in U.S. courts.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Rhinos are not just popular recreational vehicles in Australia. Farmers, Surf Life Saving patrols (a national association of lifeguards), and Rural Fire Brigades also use them in their daily tasks.
Surf Life Saving Australia told the Daily telegraph that Yamaha assured them that “there are no safety concerns with the Rhino” and that it’s not offering the repair program in Australia because “when the user guidelines are followed, the Rhino is a safe and extremely capable side-by-side vehicle.”
The SLSA also told the Daily Telegraph that it implements driver training programs developed specifically for the Rhino. However, Yamaha told the association that “typical use” of the vehicles in the U.S. differed significantly from the SLSA’s use, and that “safety issues are not replicated here.”
So, in other words, Americans are irresponsible (if not reckless) Rhino drivers, the CPSC’s concerns are unfounded, and there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with the Rhino’s design, even though more people are killed or maimed while using them than any other UTV?