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Polaris ATV Recall Doubled Following 372 More Fire Reports

Feb 15, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The Polaris All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) recall has been expanded to include nearly 50,000 more defective Polaris ATVs.  The Polaris ATV recall expansion doubles the number of defective vehicles recalled since 2005, and now includes near 100,000 ATVs.  The original Polaris ATV recall included about 61,000 vehicles with defective Electronic Control Modules (ECM) which could fail and overheat, causing a fire hazard.  

Notice of the Polaris ATV recall came the same day that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released data on ATV accidents.  According to the CPSC, ATVs killed more than 500 people in 2006 and of those victims nearly 1 on in 5 was a child.  In addition to ATV deaths, accidents involving such popular vehicles as the  Polaris ATV and the Yamaha Rhino ATV sent 146,600 people to hospital emergency rooms that same year. Some 75% of the ATV accidents result in serious damage to the head or spinal cord of the accident victim. Head injuries are a major cause of serious life threatening or lifelong physical problems and ailments. Injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis of the entire body for life.

Most of the deaths and injuries to children are the result of youngsters riding adult-size ATVs, and consumer groups say the agency needs to do more to keep kids off ATVs that are too big and too powerful for them.  Consumer advocates have called on the CPSC to ban the sale of adult-size ATVs for use for children. The agency has declined to do that. There is only a voluntary agreement in place with major ATV distributors in which they require dealers not to sell adult-size ATVs to people who might allow children to ride them. Consumer groups say few dealers abide by the rule.

According to the CPSC, since the original Polaris ATV recall announced in June 2005, Polaris has received 372 additional reports of smoking and/or melted ECMs on the recalled ATVs, and 20 reports of fires, nine of which involved property damage beyond the ATV. No injuries have been reported.

This Polaris ATV recall involves select 2005 through 2006 model Polaris Sportsman and Scrambler 500 ATVs. The model and serial numbers are printed on a decal attached to the front side of the radiator (Sportsman) or the top of the front cab cover (Scrambler 500). Serial numbers are permanently stamped into the left frame rail behind the left front wheel. Polaris dealers nationwide sold the ATVs from mid-2004 through last month for between $3,800 and $7,900.

The CPSC has advised consumers to disconnect the negative (black) cable from the battery when the ATV is not in use and then contact a Polaris dealer for a free repair.  Consumers should not use the Polaris ATV until the repair has been made.  Consumers can obtain information regarding the Polaris ATV recall by calling Polaris at 1-888-704-5290 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Standard Time Monday through Friday, or visit www.polarisindustries.com.


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