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Chrysler to Recall Dodge Grand Caravans and Town and Country Minivans Over Airbag Software Problem, Other Autos Over Faulty Micro-Controllers

To repair an airbag software issue, automaker Chrysler is voluntarily recalling certain Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan vehicles—at least 224,000 minivans, likely more, including a number of Ram Tradesman cargo vans. All vehicles are from the 2013 model year and they were made between 5/10/12 and 6/7/13.

The safety issue involves a software problem that could cause an airbag located on the opposite side of a van from where a collision point happens to deploy. This could mean that if the crash impact occurs on the right side of the auto, it is the left-side airbag that might go off (and the opposite could happen if the impact point were to occur on the left side of the auto), leaving the occupant needing protection unprotected and placing him/her at risk of serious injuries. The malfunction might also up the injury risk for the passenger on the side of the van that wasn’t struck, as he or she is pushed toward the impact area by the errant airbag.

Chrysler says it knows of three incidents involving this airbag safety issue and that just one of the occurrences resulted in a minor injury.

The automakers’ dealers will fix the safety problem at no extra cost. The recall campaign is slated to start next month.

Another Auto Recall
Meantime, Chrysler is also recalling at least another 440,000 cars, including certain Chrysler 200 and Chrysler Sebring autos (2011-2013 models), Dodge Avenger autos (2011 to 2013 models), Jeep Liberty SUVs (2011-2012 models) and Dodge Nitro SUVs (2011 – 2012 models). Not all vehicles from these makes and model years are included in the recall.

The problem involves faulty micro-controllers that are supposed to stop the active head restraints on the front seats from slightly moving forward so as to prevent/decrease the severity of whiplash injuries. Dealers will remedy the problem by either reprogramming the control space or replacing a control module. There is no extra cost for the fix.

Safety Advocates Demand More Action
The recalls come a month after Chrysler waited until the last minute to concede to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s request that it recall 2.7M older Jeeps over concerns that the vehicles were prone to catching fire during rear-end crashes because of the gas tanks and their purported propensity to spill gasoline. The automaker and the government eventually managed to reach a compromise, with Chrysler agreeing to install trailer hitches on about 1.56 million Jeep Grand Cherokees (1992-1998 models) to better protect occupants during moderate- to low-speed rear-end accidents. However, the recall arrangement still has some safety advocates clamoring for more action. They want the government to crash-test some of the older jeeps to make sure that this remedy actually does the job.

At The Gilbert Law Group®, our auto defect lawyers represents victims and their families involved in car crashes involving faulty auto parts and safety devices that either contributed to causing the accident and/or serious injury by malfunctioning or failing to work at all. We represent auto defects victims throughout the US.

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