The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a preliminary investigation into 408,000 new Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs after complaints that the vehicles rolled away after being shifted into park.
According to a Detroit News report, NHTSA has received 14 complaints in connection with these problematic vehicles including five reports of crashes and three injuries.
Fiat Chrysler officials said they are cooperating. The investigation covers 2014 and 2015 models that are equipped with an electronic gear selector or shift by wire system.
The gear selection is made by pressing the shift paddle forward or backward. The shifter does not move along a gate path as conventional gear selectors do.
Reports of Rollaway Incidents
One owner in Livonia said he put his 2015 Jeep SUV into park to go into a gas station when it started to roll backwards while still in park and collided with another parked car. Three other occupants in the Jeep were able to get out of the vehicle before it crashed into the parked car. However, a child was injured exiting the vehicle.
In another complaint filed in North Carolina, the owner of a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee said he was seriously injured when his vehicle started moving after and parked it and the driver door struck him knocking him over. The left front tire rolled over his pelvic area causing serious injury, he said.
Last year, Ford recalled 92,000 vehicles for similar problems.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Vehicles that roll away after they have been put in “park” can cause serious or even catastrophic injuries. Rollaway incidents can seriously injure the vehicle occupants. In addition, they can also cause traumatic injuries to others on the roadway such as occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists.
If you have been injured as the result of a rollaway incident or any other auto defect, it is important that you understand your legal rights.
Injured victims in such cases can file an auto product liability claim against the manufacturer and/or the maker of the defective vehicle parts. Victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Victims and their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability law firm like Bisnar Chase who will conduct an independent investigation and hold the negligent automakers accountable.