By FireRescue1 Staff
WASHINGTON — Yamaha Motor Corp. USA is recalling about 120,000 off-highway recreational vehicles for repairs after two models were involved in 46 deaths.
All Rhino 450 and 660 model vehicles need to be repaired to prevent the accidents that resulted in 46 deaths since the units were distributed in 2003, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
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Many fire departments use such vehicles thanks to their versatility and off-road capabilities.
Yamaha has also agreed to voluntarily suspend sale of the two models immediately until repaired. Consumers should immediately stop using these popular recreational vehicles until the repair is installed by a dealer.
It is also voluntarily implementing the same repair program and suspension of sale for the Rhino 700 model, in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Consumers should stop riding the 700 model until it is repaired. About 25,000 Rhino 700s are part of this repair program.
CPSC staff has investigated more than 50 incidents involving 46 driver and passenger deaths in these two Rhino models. More than two-thirds of the cases involved rollovers and many involved unbelted occupants.
Of the rollover-related deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain.
About 120,000 of the 450 and 660 model Rhinos have been distributed nationwide since Fall 2003. Some units have been equipped by Yamaha with half doors and additional passenger handholds, either before or after sale.
Yamaha's repair includes the installation of a spacer on the rear wheels as well as the removal of the rear anti-sway bar to help reduce the chance of rollover and improve vehicle handling, and continued installation of half doors and additional passenger handholds where these features have not been previously installed to help keep occupants' arms and legs inside the vehicle during a rollover and reduce injuries.
Owners of the affected Rhinos should stop using them and call their dealer to schedule an appointment to have repairs made once they are available and to take advantage of a free helmet offer.
For additional information, contact Yamaha at 800-962-7926 or visit the firm's Web site at www.yamaha-motor.com.