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Yamaha lawsuit sheds light on ATV driver behavior


When we talk about ATV safety, it is generally through the lens of the rider. Enthusiasts are encouraged to take the proper training courses, wear a helmet, and make sure their ATV tires are properly inflated.

Less frequently do we hear about steps that manufacturers take to reduce the risk of injury, which is why a recent court decision in favor of Yamaha was so illuminating.

In 2003, the manufacturer debuted a new type of ATV, the Rhino. As ATV fans know, the Rhino enables two passengers to sit next to each other. Four years later, Yamaha made additional safety changes, yet the manufacturer was nonetheless sued by various safety commissions.

Rather than settle, Yamaha fought the lawsuits. In the process, it secured data relating to Rhino-related injuries and found that in many cases, the injuries were caused by ATV driver behavior. Eighty-four percent of injuries, for example, involved a rider without a helmet; 29 percent involved drugs or alcohol.

Readily aware of the risk of lawsuits, ATV manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure vehicle safety. The rest is up to the driver.

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