For many Texans, off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are inseparable from outdoor recreation. But recall figures from over the past decade suggest these machines are becoming more dangerous, with defects that have led to serious injuries and death.
This comes from an analysis by the Consumer Federation of America, which recorded 107 OHV recalls from 2010-19. More worrying, however, is the trend. While the number of annual recalls during the start of the decade was relatively small, later years saw a significant jump:
- 2010 – 2 recalls
- 2011 – 1
- 2012 – 9
- 2013 – 6
- 2014 – 6
- 2015 – 10
- 2016 – 16
- 2017 – 24
- 2018 – 17
- 2019 – 16
Leading reasons for recalls
One specific safety issue stands out as particularly prominent. Nearly half of all recalls were due to fire hazards, including leaky fuel hoses, exhaust pipes that cracked, failing firewalls and components that melted. Throttling issues and steering problems represented the second- and third-most recalls.
Unfortunately, these defects were not without victims. There were 70 reports of injuries stemming from OHVs that were ultimately recalled. That includes one person who suffered a serious leg injury in a rollover, and a child that suffered serious burns when an OHV caught fire.
There were also two deaths reported. A 14-year-old passenger died in a rollover while in an OHV that did not have seat belts. And a 15-year-old passenger died after the OHV they were in caught fire and flipped.
Both vehicles involved were later recalled.
As the safety group points out, OHVs inherently require safety precautions. When followed, riders should be relatively safe. When there are unannounced or hidden product defects, this equation changes. As an operator or rider, you may be in far more danger than you think.