Yamaha Rhino ATV Accident Claims Two More Lives
There was yet another fatal Yamaha Rhino ATV accident over the weekend, this time resulting in the deaths of two 11 year-old girls. While many people continue to believe that most of these Rhino accidents are the fault of the operator (or in this case the parents), it is not that simple.
This latest accident occurred on Saturday, October 18, 2008, in DeSoto County, Mississippi, which is near Memphis, Tennessee. The two young girls were riding a 2005 Yamaha Rhino on a flat, paved road when it rolled over, pinning them under the weight of the vehicle. They both suffered fatal injuries in the accident.
Although there were no witnesses to the accident and the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash is unknown, the initial report published in the DeSoto Times-Tribune, which is the local paper for the county, suggested that the accident was caused by the two young girls operating the vehicle on the pavement, as opposed to off-road. The report also highlighted the fact that the girls were not wearing any protective gear or seatbelts.
Along with the article that appeared on the paper’s website, www.desototimes-tribune.com, were a series of comments from readers. One of the first comments published after the article appeared was from a reader named “mandie” who indicated that the children should not have been unattended and stated that “the parents are responsible for this accident and the two girls should have never been allowed to ride it anywhere near the street.”
While the parents likely regret many of the things that happened on the day of this accident, it is not a fair statement to lay blame on the parents and neither the original article nor the first comments tell the whole story about this ATV accident.
The Yamaha Rhino ATV is an inherently unstable vehicle, which has been found to rollover even at low speeds when it is operated on flat surfaces. Although Yamaha has been aware of these problems for years, they have not provided adequate warnings to owners and have not issued a Yamaha Rhino recall to address the problems. In fact, they continue to sell thousands of these dangerous vehicles every year without substantial design changes.
There is another comment on the original article which follows the comments of “mandie”, which really helps shed some more light on this story. Bob Berends wrote:
My heart goes out to the parents, families and friends of these two young girls. Only God knows what happened and why the Yamaha Rhino rolled.
I, too, lost my daughter when the Rhino she drove rolled and crushed-killed her. She was driving slowly on flat, firm ground when the Rhino rolled while she was making a turn. My daughter was wearing seatbelts but was still partially ejected.
Within the three days prior to my daughter’s death, two other young girls died in separate Rhino accidents involving rollovers.
We later learned (a) many other kids and adults have been killed or injured in Rhino rollovers, and (b) the Rhino has a tendency to roll due to its high center of gravity, narrow width/wheelbase, ill-placed rollbars and big tires. In addition, many people have lost or injured their arms and legs as the early Rhinos did not have any doors and after several deaths, Yamaha offered a half-door that still did not completely restrain riders.
As it turns out over 300 lawsuits have been filed against Yamaha due to the defective design of the Rhino.
I wish Yamaha designed their vehicles to be safer. Perhaps my daughter and these two young girls would still be alive.
A follow up story was published today by the DeSoto Times-Tribune, which does a better job of providing information about the underlying Yamaha Rhino rollover problems. They highlight the instability of the vehicle and the fact that at least 13 children and 4 adults have been killed in Yamaha Rhino ATV accidents since 2006. In addition, hundreds of other individuals have suffered severe and debilitating injuries.
The initial reaction of the DeSoto Times-Tribune and the commenter “mandie” is the common thought that enters peoples heads when they hear about these Rhino accidents. While all-terrain vehicles are inherently dangerous and require special care during operation, the manufacturers have an obligation to make the vehicles as safe as possible. They also have an obligation to provide warnings about risks that would not be apparent to normal users (or parents).
Yamaha has failed to do so, and until they make substantial changes to the Rhino ATV, we will continue to come across these devastating stories.
YAMAHA RHINO ATV ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
The Yamaha Rhino accident attorneys at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential claims for severe injuries caused by Yamaha Rhino ATV accidents throughout the United States. If you, a friend or family member have suffered personal injury due to the negligently designed Yamaha side-by-side ATV, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.