Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
U.S. Vehicle Safety Officials Investigating Fiat Chrysler Roll-Away Crashes

U.S. Vehicle Safety Officials Investigating Fiat Chrysler Roll-Away Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating a potential Fiat Chrysler auto defect, in which the vehicles roll away despite being shifted into park. U.S. auto safety regulators will be inspecting about 1 million 2013-2016 model year Ram 1500 pickup trucks and 2014-2016 Dodge Durango SUVs in the wake of numerous vehicle roll-away reports. These auto injury reports have included nine injuries and 25 crashes so far.

These vehicle rollaway issues are similar to the June incident, where Russian-born “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin, age 27, was killed in a roll-away accident in his recalled 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Fiat Chrysler had previously recalled more than 1.1 million vehicles worldwide in April due to the roll-away problem.

The new investigation focuses on the gear selector which contains a dial-like electronic rotary knob control, reportedly making it too easy for drivers to miss putting the vehicles in “Park” before exiting. Having the gear selection controlled electronically marks a difference from the conventional console shifters, which slide backward and forward to indicate which gear is in place. This alteration in the transmission control modules may confuse drivers, leading to accidents and injuries.

As noted by senior auto industry analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader.com, “if you’re going to reinvent something that people are very familiar with, you’d better make sure it works perfectly.”

Defective Design Vehicle Injuries

There have been hundreds of accidents where people suffered debilitating physical injuries when a vehicle suddenly moved into reverse. Auto manufacturers are reluctant to accept responsibility for these injuries. Instead, they regularly blame the drivers for the accidents and deny their vehicles could be defective.

Contact a Car Accidents Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a family member have been injured in an accident you suspect may have involved a faulty or defectively designed transmission, we encourage you to contact an auto injury attorney through our case page at the national law firm of Lieff Cabraser.