Sorry if this is a duplicate, i am work and just got this from a friend!!!
Big win for Yamaha Rhino
Yamaha?s Rhino Is Safe If Used With Care, Jury Told (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
Yamaha’s Rhino Is Safe If Used With Care, Jury Told (Update1)
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By Sophia Pearson and Rogayle Franklin
Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Yamaha Motor Co.’s Rhino vehicle, which has been linked to 59 deaths in the U.S., isn’t a toy and is safe when used according to instructions, a company lawyer said at a trial over the death of a Texas teenager.
The Rhino, a cross between a golf cart and an all-terrain vehicle, is blamed by the family for the death of Forest “Eddie” Ray, 13, in 2007. The machine, weighing about 1,000 pounds and going up to 40 miles an hour, is safe for off-road use with reasonable care, Yamaha lawyer’s Jeffrey Hawkins told jurors today in Orange, Texas.
“Because there is a death, that doesn’t mean it’s defective,” Hawkins said in closing arguments. “This vehicle was tested for four years in every prototype stage. It was an important product for Yamaha, so they wanted to do it right.”
Yamaha, based in Iwata, Japan, the world’s second largest motorcycle maker, faces about 500 lawsuits in the U.S. on claims design defects and a lack of safety features cause the Rhino to roll at low speeds. In April, the company stopped selling the vehicle and offered free repairs on 145,000 units.
Lawyers for the boy’s parents said in the trial that the Rhino’s narrow stance, its height and lack of a rear differential gear, which aids in turning, make it unsafe.
Ray died in September 2007 after the Rhino he was riding rolled over in a turn from a field onto a paved road. His speed was 14 to 17 miles per hour (23 to 27 kilometers per hour), Ray’s attorney Troy Rafferty said.
“The Rhino is defective and unreasonably dangerous, and Yamaha knew it for years,” Rafferty said in his closing. “They knew this would kill people.”
More than two-thirds of Rhino accidents investigated in the U.S. involved rollovers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In many of the accidents, drivers were maneuvering at relatively low speeds on level terrain, the agency said. In some cases, injuries required the amputation of arms, legs and fingers, it said.
Lawyers for Yamaha blame Ray’s death on operator error.
The vehicle’s safety recommendations warn against drivers under 16 operating the machine. A warning label also cautions that the vehicle is for off-road use only and must be operated with seatbelts and protective gear, lawyers for the company said during the trial.
The case is Ray v. Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, B070626-C, 163rd Judicial District, Orange County, Texas (Orange).
To contact the reporters on this story: Sophia Pearson in Wilmington, Delaware, at [email protected]
; Rogayle Franklin in Orange, Texas, at [email protected]
Last Updated: August 27, 2009 15:01 EDT