Fiat Chrysler has announced that it is recalling over one million cars and SUVs worldwide out of concerns the gear selector makes it too easy for drivers to miss putting the vehicles in “Park” before exiting. Vehicles not left in Park can roll away and cause serious injuries.
Fiat is aware of at least 41 injuries “potentially related” to drivers whose vehicles were inadvertently left in a not-parked state. The U.S. portion of the recall comes to approximately 812,000 vehicles.
Safety advocates note that the design of the gear shift in these Fiat Chrysler vehicles makes it hard to determine what gear the vehicle’s engine is in. Whereas most gear selectors shift through distinctive positions unique to each gear, the Fiat Chrysler design always returns to a single upright position — the driver moves the selector forward or back to choose a gear, but it then returns to the original upright position.
No matter if it’s in Park, Reverse, Neutral or Drive, the gear selector is always in the same position.
Though there are lights that signal a driver as to the vehicle’s gear and a not-in-park warning chime, drivers are still emerging from their vehicles in the belief the autos are safe and immobile when they are not.
Chrysler intends to beef up its warnings and ultimately change how the gear selector system operates. The company will alert owners to the recall and will do the necessary repairs at no cost. Until those repairs are ready and then made, however, drivers are at risk of serious injury from the not-parked Fiat Chrysler vehicles.
Affected vehicle models:
- 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans
- 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs
Lieff Cabraser has successfully represented clients nationwide in auto defect lawsuits against nearly all car makers, including GM, Chrysler, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. These lawsuits have involved a wide range of faulty vehicles and types of accidents including gear shift and park-to-reverse defects. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident you suspect may be related to gear position problems, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you to discuss your case. Please contact us online or call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358. There is no charge for our review of your case, and all information provided will be held in strict confidence.