Dangerous and defective products can inflict great harm on consumers who use them. Polaris recently agreed to recall 133,000 recreational vehicles intended for off-highway use. Greater than 100 of the off-road vehicles have unexpectedly caught on fire, which has resulted in the death of at least one rider and injured others. An analysis of recalls announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals that this recall is one of the largest ever for off-road vehicles.
Acknowledging that it is the largest recall in the company’s history, Polaris stated that it conducted a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the fires and has developed an action plan with the CPSC to address the safety concerns. Several models are included in the recall and model years impacted range from 2013 to 2016. An earlier recall of 53,000 off-road vehicles was previously announced in October and those vehicles are included in the current recall.
In total, there have been 160 fires that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl and injuries to 19 others, including first, second and third-degree burns. The death of the girl resulted when the off-road vehicle she was traveling in tipped on its side, burst into flames and caused her to suffer burns over 65 percent of her body. After months, and multiple surgeries, the teenager died. A representative for the family noted that an off-road vehicle should not burst into flames simply from tipping on its side.
During the earlier recall, the CPSC commission blamed the fire hazard on a fuel tank line that can be pinched, resulting in the tank pressurizing and leaking fuel. A representative from the CPSC urged consumers to discontinue use of off-road vehicles impacted by the recall and take advantage of the free repair the manufacturer is offering. Manufacturing defects can result in serious injuries and even death when an unsafe product is used by consumers. Because of the serious impact unsafe products can have on victims and their families, products liability law provides options and protections for consumers harmed by dangerous or defective products.
Source: Star Tribune, “Polaris recalls 133,000 off-road vehicles after reports of fire,” Jeffrey Meitrodt, April 19, 2016