Chrysler continues to make headlines. Earlier this week, it refusing to heed a NHTSA request that it recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee (1993-2004 models) and Jeep Liberty (2002-2007 models) vehicles. The agency said that the SUV’s gas tanks are a safety risk. The automating giant, however, refused to comply, arguing that the vehicles meet safety standards. It is rare for an automaker to say not when the government requests a recall.
NHTSA maintains that the gas tanks are very susceptible to spilling gas when struck from behind, which can lead to a car fire. It said it is aware of at least 37 incidents that resulted in auto fires and there have been at least 51 fatalities. However, the Center for Auto Safety and other safety advocates think that the death toll from the auto defect is higher. (If you’ll recall, last month, The Gilbert Law Group® posted ablog about the call by safety advocates to have these particular jeeps recalled.)
Meantime, Chrysler remains adamant that the gas tank, which is located in the back of the rear axle, is placed in a location common to a lot of other autos. It believes that NHTSA’s analysis was not complete. Chrysler says that in the fatal accidents the agency is taking into account, their actual cause was high speed. It doesn’t believe that a different gas tank design would have saved the victims’ lives.
NHTSA has to wait until June 2018 to see if Chrysler decides to abide by the recall request. Depending on what happens then, the agency would have the option of determining whether to announce an involuntary recall. If Chrysler still refuses, the agency can go to the courts and demand that the automaker be forced to recall its vehicles. such a legal battle could take years.
Now, two days later, however, Chrysler is announcing global recalls of 630,000 other SUV jeeps. One recall involves 254,000 Patriot and 254,000 Compass SUVs (2010 – 2012 models) to remedy a software problem that can stall firing of curtain air bags and seat belt pretensioners. A separate recall involves 181,000 Wranguler SUVs to repair a transmission cooler line. This auto part may experience premature wear, which can cause it to leak.
Regardless of whether/not an automaker issued a recall, if you are worried that your motor vehicle crash injuries or a loved one’s traffic death occurred because of an auto defect, you may be able to sue the manufacturer on the grounds of auto products liability.
Unfortunately, even when a recall is announced in certain instances, there already will have been lives lost and injuries sustained before the situation is considered serious enough for a recall to be made. Even then, it can take awhile, as noted by efforts by safety advocates over the last few years to call for Chrysler to make the Jeep recall that it is still refusing to announce.
At The Gilbert Law Group®, our auto defects lawyers represent victims and their families in recouping compensation and damages for the harm that they have suffered.