Automaker Chrysler is recalling hundreds of thousands of older-model Jeep SUVs to fix an ignition-related stalling problem similar to the deadly flaw that has plagued General Motors vehicles this year that resulted in at least 16 fatalities.
According to a report in The New York Times, the recall could potentially cover 792,300 Jeep Commanders and Grand Cherokees worldwide, all manufactured between 2005 and 2007.
Chrysler said it is acting out of an abundance of caution and is not aware of any injuries or fatalities that have occurred as a result of these auto defects.
General Motors’ ignition defects have been linked so far to 16 deaths and dozens of accidents, leading to a global recall of 17 million vehicles.
Chrysler’s issue sounds similar to GM’s – when a person’s knee touches the keys, the ignition can inadvertently shift out of the “run” position, impeding the steering and braking power and disabling the airbags.
General Motors is facing intense scrutiny including a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
Defective Ignitions Subject of Federal Probe
It is not clear when Chrysler knew about the defective ignitions in the Jeep vehicles it is planning to recall.
In 2011, Chrysler recalled nearly 200,000 minivans for an ignition stall-out issue, a recall that expanded earlier this month to almost 700,000 more vehicles. This new recall comes in the wake of a federal investigation of several older Chrysler models for ignition issues.
In announcing the Chrysler investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said it had received 32 complaints stretching back six years from Jeep owners who said that the driver’s knee hit the ignition key chain.
Chrysler plans to further investigate precisely which Commanders and Cherokees should be recalled. Owners are likely to receive notifications in the mail by mid-September. In the meantime, vehicle owners are asked to remove all items but the ignition key from their key rings and ensure that there is enough clearance between the key and their knees while driving.
What Vehicle Owners Can Do
It is important that consumers take all these safety recalls seriously. These vehicles are recalled because of their potential to cause a serious accident that could result in injuries and/or fatalities. If your vehicle has been recalled, it is important that you act promptly to ensure your safety and your family’s safety.
You should contact your dealership or the manufacturer to determine the quickest solution. In any official recall, all repairs will be made free of charge.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a defective auto, please contact an experienced auto products liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.