Chrysler Recalls Over 11 Million Vehicles for Gear Shift Problem
On Friday, Fiat-Chrysler announced that it is recalling more than 1.1 million cars and midsize SUVs worldwide because their gear shifters may confuse drivers and in turn increase the risk of a rollaway accident happening.
The automaker’s recall covers vehicles from 2012-2014 and includes Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee SUV models. The estimated number of vehicles affected by the Fiat Chrysler recall in the United States is an estimated 811,586 cars and trucks.
At issue is the vehicles’ electronic shift lever that moves forward or backward to allow the driver select the gear instead of moving along a track. A light indicates which gear has been selected. However, to get from drive to park the driver must push the lever forward three times.
While the vehicle will sound a chime indicated if the driver opens their door when the vehicle is not in park, the push button ignition does not shut off the engine. This can cause drivers to be unaware that their vehicle is not fully parked and increase the chance of the vehicle rolling away inadvertently.
So far the automaker has said there have been some 41 injuries that are potentially linked to the gear shift issue.
Federal authorities have opened an investigation into the problem with Fiat Chrysler vehicles after having received reports that the cars were rolling away after drivers had exited their vehicle, believing that it was in park. According to documents that have been posted on the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency found that the shift lever “is not intuitive and provides poor tactile feedback to the driver.” The agency says there have been 121 reported incidents connected to the issue.
Fiat Chrysler has said that owners of the vehicles affected by the recall will be notified. Dealers will update the shifters so the vehicles won’t move once the driver has exited. Dealers will also add enhanced warning signals to alert drivers when their vehicles are not fully in park. In the meantime, however, vehicle owners are being encouraged to follow their vehicle’s operating instructions for operating the gear shifters until they are repaired.
When someone spends a great deal of money investing in a vehicle, they want to be assured that their choice is safe. Unfortunately, sometimes designs can be flawed and people can get hurt as a result. In this case, the company seems to be doing all that it can in order to make their vehicles safer and ensure the safety of their customers.
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