Dangers of UTV's: Inherent Design Defects

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Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs), although known by many names, should not be confused with SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) or ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles). UTVs are also known as the following:

  • Recreational Utility Vehicle (RUV)
  • Multi-Use Vehicle (MUV)
  • Off-Road Utility Vehicles
  • Side-by-Side Vehicles (SxS)
  • Utility Side-by-Sides
  • Recreational Side-by-Sides

A UTV is a vehicle which is a mixture of the features of an ATV and a pick-up truck, it used to be primarily used for work but now, it is quickly becoming popular with the public as a sport and utility vehicle.

Potential for Serious Injury

It’s growing use for sports and leisure purposes however, present several dangers of driving UTVs. These off-road powersports machines, which have safety and stability issues and are dangerously prone to rollover has cost hundreds of lives and injuries in owners and occupants in UTV accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), death and catastrophic injuries were twice as high for unstable utility vehicles compared to passenger cars. There were 281,000 vehicle rollovers in 2003, over 10,000 of which resulted in fatalities and 170,000 more resulted to serious injuries.

One Infamous Example

The Yamaha Rhino in particular, aside from other sport-based UTVs, have been linked to as many as 46 fatalities, most of whom are children. Further, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, unstable utility vehicles are prone to roll over at five times the rate of passenger cars.

Yamaha Rhinoes and other UTVs may look large and heavy with their truck-like appearance and cargo bed, it has been reported by the NHTSA that they are very dangerous because they are extremely unstable, more prone to “tip over” than almost any other four wheeled vehicle made. Also, unlike trucks or SUVs, UTVs do not have fully enclosed passenger compartments. Thus, in the event of a rollover, partial or total ejection are likely to happen which can cause catastrophic injuries or worse, death.

Likewise, it has been noted that Yamaha Rhinos lack effective restraints and seatbelts and have unpadded roll cages. These make these vehicles much more dangerous than any other vehicle during a rollover.

What Injured Riders Should be Aware Of

If you or your family member was involved and injured in a UTV accident, consult with a personal injury attorney immediately especially if you are facing huge medical expenses.

There are many safety defects involving UTVs which makes them inherently dangerous to drive. Yamaha Rhinos in particular, have been subjected to a recall and have been repaired but according to safety experts, millions of units have yet to be retrofitted for a half-door and that these measures are still inadequate in terms of safety.

All product manufacturers have the duty to ensure that their products are safe for public use but many UTVs fail to make the safety grade. Hiring a personal injury attorney will help you push your claim for damages and compensation against lax companies who fail to comply with motor vehicle safety standards.