CPSC Issues ROV Warning, Safety Tips

As side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) continue to gain in popularity, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, so does the number of reports of injuries and deaths involving these vehicles. Even though ROVs have a roll cage and seat belts, CPSC is urging all riders and passengers to remain vigilant about safety before hitting the trails and while off-roading.

CPSC's safety message is especially targeted at Yamaha Rhino drivers and passengers. In March 2009, a free vehicle repair and helmet giveaway was offered to all owners of Rhino model 450, 660, and 700 ROVs, in order to enhance stability and reduce the potential for rollover, as well as improve occupant protection. About 145,000 vehicles were affected. CPSC is still urging every owner to act now to bring their Rhino into a Yamaha dealership for the free upgrades.

CPSC said that in order to provide a safer ride, all Rhinos must have half-doors, additional passenger handholds, spacers on the rear wheels, and the rear anti-sway bar removed. Consumers should immediately stop using Rhino ROVs until the repairs are installed by a dealer. While these repairs will improve the safety of these vehicles, the repairs alone are not enough. Owners of vehicles should be sure that riders and passengers:

  • wear their seat belt properly every time,
  • strap on their helmet every time,
  • follow on-product warnings,
  • never remove the half-doors,
  • never allow a child younger than 16 to drive,
  • never allow a child to be a passenger if he/she is unable to place both feet on the floorboard with his/her back against the seat, and
  • only operate off-road—the Rhino is not designed for use on public roads or paved surfaces.

As of June 23, 2009, CPSC staff has received reports of nearly 60 fatalities involving the 450, 660 and 700 models of the Yamaha Rhino. A number of very serious injuries have also been reported, including injuries to the head and neck, and incidents requiring surgical amputation of victims’ arms, legs, and fingers. Many of these cases appear to have involved rollovers at relatively low speeds and on level terrain.

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