Fiat Chrysler has issued a defective auto recall for about 1.1 million vehicles, including 811,586 mid-size SUVs and full-size cars in the United States, after getting reports of 41 injuries linked to the auto defect. According to a USA TODAY news report, the incidents resulted from confusion over when the vehicles’ automatic transmission is in the “park” position. Apparently, drivers have been exiting the vehicles without shifting into park while the engine is still running.
The Problem with the Vehicles
The problem involves vehicles that have electronic shift levers on consoles that spring back to the same position after being shifted. So, drivers can’t really tell whether it is in park just by looking at the shifter’s position. Instead, they have to depend on indicator lights. The U.S. recall involves certain 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The recall was the result of an investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fiat Chrysler that was looking into complaints of incidents and injuries involving this recall.
There have been reports from several drivers about confusion regarding whether or not they had parked the vehicles. One owner in Indiana said he left his 2015 Jeep Cherokee running when he thought he had pushed the shifter in the right direction. But the car started to move with the man’s 23-year-old son still in the parking lot. The man had to jump back in the vehicle and put his foot on the brake and watch the shift indicator as he slowly moved the shifter up so it indicated that the vehicle was in “park.” Another driver in Michigan reported becoming confused about whether his vehicle was in reverse.
Experts say the problem stems from failure on the part of the engineers to properly anticipate all scenarios in which motorists use shifters. Fiat Chrysler has said it will improve the warnings and modify the settings in the transmission so the vehicles won’t move under certain conditions if they are set in “park” mode.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, please understand that you have legal rights and options. Injured victims in such cases can file an auto product liability claim against the manufacturer seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An auto defect law firm that has the experience and resources to conduct independent investigations will be able to help injured victims and their families prove their case and secure fair compensation for their losses.