Polaris knew about the hazards of fires involving their vehicles for years before recalls were issued. Reports of fire hazards date back to at least 1999-2001, yet Polaris did not report any of these issues to the Consumer Products Safety Commission until years later. During the years that Polaris was receiving reports of injury and death relating to RZR and Ranger fires, Polaris continued to experience high revenue and profits with demand and sales increasing.
Timeline: What Polaris Knew, and When, About RZR and Ranger Fire Hazards
Polaris received reports of more than 40 fires causing at least 18 injuries.
Polaris knew that fuel tanks and the fuel venting design were insufficient.
Polaris had received reports that RZR models were catching fire and overheating, causing fires.
Polaris received more reports of fires, including reports of injury and death.
Polaris was aware that Ranger and RZR owners had been seriously burned, killed, and/or that the vehicle they were operating had caught fire and exploded in a matter of seconds.
Reports of fires and injuries that Polaris knew about by late 2015 include the following instances:
- July 24, 2015 incident involving a man driving a 2013 RZR XP 900 with his two children when the vehicle went up in flames, causing one child to suffer significant burn injuries.
- May 2, 2015 incident involving a new 2015 RZR resulting in burn injuries and a RZR that was completely destroyed.
- April 2, 2015 incident where a person rented a brand new 2015 RZR XP 1000 and was driving with his kids when the vehicle suddenly went up in flames. Fortunately, everyone was able to escape injury.
- Early 2015 incident involving a 2014 RZR that burned to the ground.
- November 30, 2013 incident involving a RZR 1000 that caught fire and resulted in a 13-year old suffering burns over 45% of his body.
- Early 2013 incident involving a 2009 RZR 800 that went up in flames.
- November 1, 2012 incident involving a brand new 2012 RZR XP that was completely engulfed in flames within 10 seconds of the operator exiting the vehicle.
- May 27, 2012 incident involving a 2011 RZR XP 900 becoming fully engulfed in flames.
- July 4, 2015 incident involving a 2015 RZR 900 with less than 20 hours of operation that tipped over and became engulfed in flames resulting in the death of a 15-year old girl.
By April 2016, Polaris had knowledge of more than 160 RZR fires resulting in at least 19 injuries and one death.
Finally, on April 19, 2016 Polaris announced a recall of 133,000 2013-2016 RZR 900 and 1000 models due to defects causing fires and burn injuries.
Polaris continued to recall other RZR models including 2016 and 2017 models for defects that can start fires.
Due to Polaris' delayed reporting of defects in the RZR and Ranger models, the company was slapped with one of the largest fines in CPSC history—a whopping $27.25 million dollars.
Polaris has continued to receive reports of RZRs and Rangers catching on fire despite having received recall repairs.
Polaris has continued to receive reports of fire in new models of RZRs and Rangers yet continues to market them.
Clearly, Recalls and Repairs Have Not Solved the Problem
It has become increasingly clear that recall repairs being performed by Polaris are not solving the issue or eliminating the risk of fire and burn injuries. In fact, even their newer models (including 2019 models) are still being reported for fires. Polaris continues to fail its duty to consumers and continues to put vehicles on the market that are not safe for use.
Have You Been Affected By a Polaris Fire?
First, if you have a Polaris vehicle, immediately stop use and check for recalls here. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a Polaris fire or crash, contact Keller & Keller today for a free consultation. Our experts are prepared to advocate for you and your family and we can represent victims nationwide.