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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Off-road recreational vehicles made by a Yamaha Motor Corp. unit are being recalled in the U.S. to fix defects following dozens of fatal accidents.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it ordered the recall after investigating more than 50 incidents involving 46 driver and passenger deaths due mainly to rollovers.

Yamaha is repairing free of charge its Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models, and suspending their sales. Around 145,000 units have been sold in the United States since 2003, the commission said in a statement.

A Yamaha spokesman said the vehicles aren’t sold in Japan.

More than two-thirds of the accidents involved rollovers and many of the passengers were not wearing seat belts, the commission said.

“Of the rollover-related deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain,” the commission said.

Under the repair program, Yamaha will install a spacer on the rear wheels and remove the rear sway bar to help reduce rollovers and improve vehicle handling.

It will continue to install half doors and additional passenger handholds to keep passenger arms and legs inside the vehicle during a rollover and to reduce injuries, according to the commission.

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