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Child Deaths from Car Fires Prompt Nonprofit Consumer Group to Demand Recall of 5 Million Jeep Grand Cherokees

The Center for Auto Safety wants Chrysler Group to recall 5 million Jeep Grand Cherokees (1993 to 2004 models). The nonprofit consumer advocacy group is making the demand in light of three child fatalities that happened in the back of Jeeps that caught fire when they were rear-ended. It also is reporting 349 deadly fire crashes and 478 fatalities (at least 157 of these are fire-related).

The group has wanted the recall to be issued since 2009. It claims that there are two safety issues: the gas tank of these older vehicles are located in what is referred to as the crush zone (in the back of the rear axle and under the bumper) and the fuel filler pipe is set in a way that it can rip off the tank during a rear impact crash, which can cause gasoline to leave the tank. While newer Grand Cherokees (2005 model and beyond) now have the gas tank in front of the rear axle, Chrysler maintains that this redesign wasn’t made out of safety concerns (not one fire-related crash death has been reported since this new modification was implemented.)

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported findings from a study, which found that rear-impact-linked tank failures and car fires occur more in Jeep Grand Cherokees than in other jeeps. The federal agency said it was broadening its probe to also look at Jeep Libertys (2002 to 2007 models) and Cherokee SUVs (1993 to 2001 models). The three models add up to the approximately 5 million vehicles that The Center for Auto Safety wants recalled. Meantime, Chrysler maintains that its SUVs are not defective and their fuel systems do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety in rear impact accidents.

If you or someone in your family was hurt in a Jeep fire accident, contact our auto products liability law firm right away. At The Gilbert Law Group®, we make it our mission to help our clients recover compensation for personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by defective motor vehicles and their faulty parts.

Auto Safety
Are automakers doing enough to notify the public about vehicle safety issues? Is the government sufficiently proactive when it comes to investigating consumer complaints and holding car manufacturers accountable?

According to USA Today, although National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes information on its website aboutofficial safety investigations, news of and from informal probes may not be issued to consumers for weeks or even months. Not only does this bring up possible safety ramifications (for example, could an injury or death have been prevented with earlier public notification), but also there could be consequences for car buyers who may not know that a vehicle they are considering buying may come with possible safety issues.

Car Fires
Most vehicles have several flammable liquids and other flammable parts. Often, when a serious fire breaks out in a vehicle, occupants have very little time to get out before an auto explosion. If someone is lucky enough to survive being a car fire, the burns are usually severe, incredibly painful, and life altering.

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