In the United States, Chrysler is recalling 295,000 Jeeps over concerns that the transmission might move from park to neutral on its own. The automaker is recalling another 105,000 Jeeps elsewhere in the world.
According to a Chrysler spokesperson, 26 related incidents have been reported, including two injuries. The auto defect involves a software issues that might direct the transmission to make the shift when the Jeep is started.
Chrysler discovered the transmission defect nearly 16 months ago after a Grand Cherokee owner complained that the vehicle shifted to neutral on its own. That particular Jeep came with a remote-start feature. (The recall involves Grand Cherokees (’05-’10 models) and Jeep Commanders (’06-’10 models)).
Although it was last year that Chrysler concluded the development of the software it says should remedy the transmission defect (and wrapped up testing of the fix this March), it is only now that the car manufacturer is announcing a recall so that the new software can reflash a vehicle’s final drive controller.
For a vehicle to move from park to neutral on its own when the driver is not expecting it can cause problems, including vehicle rollaway or a car accident. If a driver thinks that the Jeep is still in neutral, he/she might not have his/her foot on the brake pedal. This could lead to the vehicle moving abruptly, potentially causing it to collide with another auto or a pedestrian. The motorist also may have left the car unattended in park with the engine running, which means that if the vehicle were to roll away on its own, there would be no one in the car to stop it from getting involved in a traffic crash.
Auto Products Liability
What might seem like a case of driver negligence may be a case of auto products liability, and claims against the manufacturer and others that played a part in the auto defect.
It is important to note that, per US law, once an automaker knows there is a safety issue it needs to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency within five business days and then conduct a recall (or be subject to a civil fine). Delayed notification of an auto defect can be detrimental, because the longer the problem remains, the greater the chances of someone getting hurt.
While many automakers will have waited because they genuinely believed that the problem didn’t warrant a recall, there may be those that delay because they don’t want to lose money from car sales or garner bad publicity. They may even choose to assume that the safety issue is an isolated incident and one that can be dealt with without attracting too much attention.
At The Gilbert Law Group®, pursuing auto defects claims and lawsuits against automakers and others is our business. Contact us today for your free, no obligation case evaluation. We are not afraid to go after large automakers to make sure that our clients are compensated for their personal injuries and the wrongful deaths of loved ones.