Fiat Chrysler cars that can roll away in ‘park’ probed – USA TODAY
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has launched a probe into approximately 1 million Dodge Ram pickups and Dodge Durango SUVs following 43 complaints alleging roll-aways when the vehicles are in the parked position.
Auto safety regulators have launched a probe into a potential Fiat Chrysler defect that can result in cars that can still roll even when their drivers believe they had been shifted into “park,” a flaw that allegedly killed actor Anton Yelchin in June, it was disclosed Tuesday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now investigating the automaker’s 2013 to 2016 Ram 1500 pickup truck and 2014 to 2016 Dodge Durango SUV to see if automatic transmissions that are shifted electronically using a rotary control on the center console,.
The investigation centers on reports of nine injuries and 25 crashes in which the vehicles allegedly rolled away after drivers thought they had shifted into park.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation launched the probe after 43 vehicle owners complained about rollaways. The investigation came to light in a document posted to NHTSA’s website.
Fiat Chrysler is “cooperating fully with NHTSA’s investigation, the scope of which is limited,” spokesman Eric Mayne said in an email.
He said it remains “prudent practice” for “all drivers to use their vehicles’ parking brakes,” which is also NHTSA’s recommendation.
NHTSA noted that none of the people who complained about their vehicles rolling away had activated the parking brake.
Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.1 million vehicles in April in order make sure cars locked in park when the driver opens the door. That recall included Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 2014 Grand Cherokee and the 2012 to 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans.
Yelchin was found dead, pinned between the back of his car and his front gate as he left his home in Studio City, Calif., for a rehearsal, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The county medical examiner concluded his death was accidental and that he died of “blunt traumatic asphyxia.”
Multiple automakers have begun incorporating electronic rotary shifters into their vehicles in recent years, but some motorists are confused by how to operate the new technology.
In a similar matter revealed separately Tuesday, NHTSA launched an investigation into 39,000 models manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover after seven drivers complained their vehicles rolled away “after the driver switched the transmission gear selector to park with the engine running and after the operator exited the vehicle,” according to a NHTSA document.
The probe covers the 2012 to 2014 Land Rover Evoque and 2012-14 Jaguar XF.
Vehicle owners reported four injuries, including one in which the person was allegedly pinned against a garage wall. Like in the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, the Jaguar Land Rover models had electronic rotary-gear shifters and the drivers had not engaged the parking brake.
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