Last year, actor Anton Yelchin was killed after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down his driveway and crushed him against his driveway gate. Yelchin, who played a popular character in recent Star Trek films, was unaware his Jeep had been part of a recall of more than one million Fiat Chrysler vehicles for a faulty rotary switch. His parents, who have filed a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer, said that the recall notice arrived a week following Yelchin’s death.
In December 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) announced that it was investigating reports that other Fiat Chrysler vehicles -- specifically, the 2014-2016 Dodge Durango and 2014-2016 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck -- roll away when their transmissions are placed in park.
The NHTSA said that it has received 43 consumer complaints about the Durango and Ram vehicles that disengage from park. The transmissions in the two vehicles are controlled by a rotary switch rather than a traditional shift lever, which critics say requires drivers to learn a new way of shifting since the rotary switches reportedly return to their original position after shifting without the driver knowing it.
The NHTSA incident reports say that the Durango and Ram vehicles rolled away after they were put in park and the driver exited the vehicle. These incidents resulted in 25 accidents and nine injuries.
Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s have also been subject to the same recall as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is the subject of a class action lawsuit filed in California in 2016. The suit alleges that the vehicle controls fail to provide a driver with tactile feedback that the vehicle’s transmission has fully shifted into park. The suit also faults Fiat Chrysler for not having a safety mechanism in place that would put the vehicle in park when the driver’s door is opened and there is no pressure on the brake pedal.
Roberts & Roberts focuses on helping people who have been injured in accidents or have been the victim of faulty medical devices. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation with our experienced personal injury legal team for the compassionate representation you deserve.