43 Complaints Submitted for Dodge Ram 1500 Pickups and Dodge Durango SUVs
After receiving 43 reports of vehicles allegedly rolling-away in the parked position, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching an investigation. The probe involves 1 million Dodge Ram pickups and Dodge Durango SUVs. The federal government says the unexpected roll-aways have resulted in 25 accidents, injuring nine people. The probe involves Ram 1500 pickups (2013-2016) and Dodge Durango SUVs (2014-2016) that use an electronic transmission with a rotary control to select gear position.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm with decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective products, including recalled automobiles. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Fiat Chrysler roll-away lawsuit.
Reportedly, drivers have experienced the vehicles rolling-away after being placed in the parked position. For the most part, they say the vehicle was on when the incident occurred. There are however, some reports stating the vehicle was off. None of the complaints say that the parking break was engaged. NHTSA released documents last month stating, “the reports alleged that the unintended motion occurred after the driver moved the transmission gear selector to park and exited the vehicle.”
The NHTSA is conducting a similar probe involving 39,000 2012-2014 Land Rover Evoque and 2013 Jaguar XF vehicles. Once again, users say that the car rolled-away after being placed in the parked position. Seven complaints were submitted to the NHTSA citing unintended roll-aways. Agency documents state, “unintended motion occurred after the driver switched the transmission gear selector to Park with the engine running and after the operator excited the vehicle,” The reports were associated with four injuries. People were injured when the vehicle started moving with the driver door still open. One injury occurred when someone was pinned against a garage wall.
The vehicles in question feature a rotary transmission switch, which is a dial as opposed to a traditional gear selector. This type of gear shifter was introduced in the Ram in 2013, and placed into other vehicles later. Manufacturers began preferring the new system because it is more space efficient, leaving more room for amenities such as cup holders. But safety concerns have arisen, as drivers say that the rotary switch is not intuitive, increasing the risk of an accident.
Fiat Chrysler Recalls Cars over Gear Shifter, 1 Million Vehicles Affected
A related issue prompted Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.1 million vehicles in April 2016. The electronic gear shifter, unlike a traditional gear shifter, returns to the same position after the driver changes the gear each time. As such, the shifter position does not provide any information about the gear selection. Instead, drivers need to rely on a set of indicator lights to confirm which gear is selected. Complaints said the new system was confusing, and at least 41 injuries have been reported with this issue.
Vehicles affected by the recall include the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. The recall involves 811,586 vehicles in the United States and 317,616 vehicles elsewhere.
Fiat Chrysler released a statement regarding the recall, saying “The vehicles affected by this recall are equipped with electronic shift levers that return to the same position after each manipulation. Gear-selection is conveyed to the driver by multiple sets of indicator lights, not gear-selector position, and unless due care is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the status of their vehicles.”
The recalled vehicles gained more attention following the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin. Reports say the actors, 27, was fatally pinned when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway. The car was reportedly on during the accident, which is reflective of most complaints.
NHTSA said in response to the fatal incident, “We’re in contact with local authorities and Fiat Chrysler to understand all of the facts related to this tragic crash, including whether or not this was caused by the current issue under recall. Last year, NHTSA initiated an investigation into the issue, FCA identified the defect, and finally issued a recall last month at NHTSA’s urging. Until all of these recalled vehicles are fixed, owners should take extra care to make sure their car is in park and turned completely off before exiting.”
In some vehicles using an electronic shifter, there is a mechanism that prevents unintended roll-aways. If a driver turns the car off and opens the door, this failsafe turns the car off or shifts it into park. However, this feature does not exist in the Jeeps.
Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Fiat Chrysler Engaged in Emissions Cheating
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Fiat Chrysler alleging that the company and Cummins, the engine manufacturers, cheated diesel emissions tests. The suit says the emissions cheating involves Dodge RAM vehicles with Cummins diesel engines, which include: 2007-2010 Dodge RAM 2500 (2WD, 4WD), 2011-2012 Dodge RAM 2500 (non-SCR systems, 2WD, 4WD), 2007-2010 Dodge RAM 3500 (2WD, 4WD) and 2011-2012 Dodge RAM 3500 (non-SCR systems, 2WD, 4WD).
The suit alleges that Fiat Chrysler and Cummins deceived 2500 and 3500 Dodge RAM truck owners into believing that their vehicles meet emission standards. According to the lawsuit, the vehicles release NOx emissions levels exceeding government standards.
The class action lawsuit alleges that Fiat Chrysler and Cummins conspired to misrepresent emissions output. Allegedly, the vehicles do not show drivers the real emissions output. Plaintiffs allege that the vehicles burn fuel at a higher rate because the catalytic converter wears down quickly.
According to the lawsuit, the emissions cheating allegedly costs consumers $3,000 to $5,000 in repairs.
The suit accuses Fiat Chrysler and Cummins of hiding true emissions levels, illegally selling vehicles that fail to meet emissions standards, fraudulent concealment, false advertising, and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and consumer-protection laws.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
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