The Yamaha Rhino is an off-road vehicle that looks?like?a golf cart with four-wheel drive. Some have?called it an all-terrain cycle (ATC) with a front seat and a steering wheel. With the rise in popu-larity?over two decades ago of the ATC, increasing numbers of accidents (100 deaths and 100,000 injuries) resulted in extensive federal regulation of the design of ATCs, including the requirement of four?wheels (rather than three). The Consumer Product?Safety Commission (CPSC) also required extensive training, disclosures, warnings, and prohibitions on children driving ATCs. However, the Rhino is not subject to the ATC regula-tions because it has a steering wheel rather than han-dlebars. The Rhino is also not subject to federal regula-tions for cars because it meets neither the size nor the structure thresholds for?autos.In this regulatory no-man’s-land, the Rhino has emerged as a popular seller. The vehicle weighs 1,100 pounds, costs $11,000, and has been a popular seller since 2003. The 2008 model was the first of the Rhinos to have doors on the side. Owners say the Rhino offers the comfort of a golf cart but the ability to fit on trails as well as on the back of a pickup truck.However, there have been 30 deaths caused by Rhino accidents, and there are now 200 lawsuits around the country that seek recovery from Yamaha for injuries caused by what the suits claims is the Rhi-no’s defective design. The Rhino is 54.4 inches long but is narrower than any of its competitors (the design’s goal is to allow the Rhino to fit on trails). The cases involve mostly rollover accidents.Yamaha has always warned its buyers to wear seat belts and helmets when operating the Rhino. In 2006 and 2007, Yamaha sent out stickers to purchas-ers that?read, “Abrupt maneuvers or aggressive driv-ing have caused rollovers—even on flat, open areas.” Yamaha also sent out a letter that offered to install doors on doorless Rhinos and extra handholds. The letter also added that drivers should be at least 16 years old.The death rate for the Rhino (number of deaths in relation to number of vehicles sold per year) is in 10,000.5 However, the actual death rate for 2006, as provided by Yamaha, was 8 in 10,000. Yama-ha said the death rate stat is skewed because you must include the number of hours operated to have the?rate mean anything. Yamaha sold 42,000 Rhi-nos?in 2007.Along with other off-road vehicle manufacturers, Yamaha has formed a voluntary trade association group that has the goal of establishing voluntary safety standards. The Recreational Off-Road Vehicle Associa-tion has already proposed changing the generic name of the vehicles to Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) from utility terrain vehicle (UTV). Yamaha and other manufacturers say that many accidents are caused by driver error and recklessness.What are your obligations when you operate in a loophole area of the law? Is Yamaha liable if it com-plied with any regulations and laws that applied? What is the responsibility of a company to report acci-dents related to its product?


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