The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently issued a press release following Kawasaki’s agreement to pay a $5.2 million civil penalty associated with an alleged failure to report defective ROVs and misrepresentation of the situation. The charges associated with the penalty asserted that Kawasaki failed to promptly report to the CPSC that its 2012-2016 model year Teryx4 750, Teryx4 800 and Teryx 800 recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard and that the ROVs in question created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. The CPSC also stated that Kawasaki knowingly made a material misrepresentation to them by underreporting the number of Teryx4 750 floorboard incidents and failing to report any incidents that happened involving the other Teryx models.
Defective and Dangerous Kawasaki ROVs
According to the CPSC, between April 2012 and July 2014, there were more than 400 incidents reported involving cracking floorboards in Teryx4 750 ROVs. Many of these incidents involved floorboards that broke during normal operation due to impact from ordinary debris. At least three of these incidents resulted in injuries, and one of those injuries was serious. Between July 2013 and August 2015, additional reports were filed with Kawasaki on other model Teryx ROVs. Another three injuries were reported, and two of them were serious. At this time, Kawasaki failed to promptly and swiftly notify the CPSC of what was going on, which is required under federal law.
Misrepresentation of Risk and Danger
The CPSC alleged that when the report was finally filed, it was done so in a way that misrepresented the situation. The report only contained a single incident and an unspecified number of injuries. Not included in the report was the 400 or more incidents involving various Teryx model floorboard problems. In July 2014, a recall of 11,000 ROVs was conducted, and by December of 2015, an additional 19,500 ROVs were added to the recall. In addition to the $5.2 million civil penalty, Kawasaki has agreed to maintain a compliance program with the CPSC and a related system of internal control and procedures.
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