NHTSA To Investigate Almost Half a Million Grand Cherokees For Rollaway Incidents
Fiat Chrysler is in hot water again over vehicle complaints, this time over late-model Jeep Grand Cherokees rolling away after being placed in park. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now opening a preliminary investigation into some 408,000 Grand Cherokees, thanks to 14 complaints, including five reports of crashes and three reports of injuries.
The problem reportedly stems from the Jeep’s electronic shifter, similar to the ones found of many other FCA vehicles with the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, including the 2015 Dodge Charger and 2015 Dodge Challenger. Each complaint states the driver placed the shifter in park before exiting the Jeep, only to find the vehicle rolling away. FCA has yet to find any evidence as to why the vehicles in question did not properly enter park.
The injures associated with the roll-away incidents include one child and two adults, all in separate cases, the most severe of which involved the driver’s pelvis being run over by the front tire after he was pushed down by the open driver’s door. Other incidents include Grand Cherokees rolling into a light pole, parked cars and ditches. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported.
The Jeep Grand Cherokees in question are 2014 and 2015 models. FCA spokesman Eric Mayne says the automaker is cooperating in the investigation. Cooperation at this point is likely assured thanks to record-breaking fines upwards of $105 million from the NHTSA for the slow pace at which the automaker addressed previous safety recalls.
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Why it matters
The idea of runaway vehicles is unsettling, especially if their transmissions were placed in park. The fault would initially seem to lie with the gearshift’s design.
Regardless, FCA and the NHTSA will dive deeper into this issue in the coming weeks and hopefully provide a solution that prevents such incidents from happening again.
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Source: Detroit News