Jeep Cherokee rollaway incidents have been a major concern of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for some time, with more than 100 incidents reported thus far. In order to protect other drivers from similar experiences, the NHTSA has expanded its probe to include several other Chrysler vehicles.
The following Chrysler vehicles are now included in the NHTSA’s rollaway probe: 2012-14 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s with 3.6L engines, as well as the 2014-15 Grand Cherokees already under investigation. The NHTSA’s announcement leaves the agency with approximately 856,000 vehicles to inspect and ensure they are safe for public roadways.
The rollaway problem lies with the cars’ gearshift assembly, which electronically transmits the gear selected by the driver to the transmission control module. Once the driver selects a gear and lets go of the shifter, the gearshift springs back into a neutral position. If the driver’s side door is opened while the shift is not in park, a message will be displayed in front of the driver and a chime will play. Also, the vehicle will not turn off correctly if the vehicle does not sense it has been shifted into park.
“This logic may provide feedback to drivers who attempt to turn the engine off when the transmission is not in park,” the NHTSA explained in a recent statement regarding the rollaway issue. “However, this function does not protect drivers who intentionally leave the engine running or drivers who do not recognize that the engine continues to run after an attempted shutoff.”
More than 100 alleged reports of crashes have been linked to the non-intuitive gearshift, NHTSA claimed. As a result, injuries from the crashes range from a fractured pelvis and kneecap to broken ribs, a broken nose and facial lacerations. Specifically, the Jeep’s rollaway defect has resulted in 121 crashes and 30 injuries, although no fatalities have yet been reported, according to the NHTSA’s failure report summary.
Source: Law 360