Recall Sought after Jeep Gas Tank Fires
Following the 2012 death of a four-year-old child riding in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) pursued a mandatory recall of 2.7 million Jeeps that were equipped with gas tanks placed within a single foot of the rear bumper. In the accident, the gas tank was ruptured and subsequently burst into flames after the SUV was rear-ended, making it impossible to remove the child from the vehicle in time.
In response to the incident, the NHTSA investigated and found that, by placing the gas tank behind the rear axle, these vehicles posed a significant safety risk, per Bloomberg News. However, Fiat-Chrysler avoided a mandatory NHTSA recall by voluntarily installing tow hitches on nearly 1.5 million affected vehicles, model years spanning 1993-2007.
As of 2002, the NHTSA has said that these Jeep models are among the only vehicles that still have gas tanks behind their rear axle, according to Detroit News. Bloomberg also noted that a deposed Fiat-Chrysler engineer conceded that the fuel tanks in the vehicles in question were, indeed, still vulnerable.
Fiat-Chrysler’s Response to the NHTSA Investigation
While Fiat-Chrysler has attempted to address the issue by installing tow hitches on affected vehicles, according to the Detroit News, the NHTSA has been critical of the pace at which Chrysler is implementing this solution. Moreover, the NHTSA does not believe that this solution will offer adequate protection in a high-speed collision.
Pending Lawsuit against Fiat-Chrysler
As the family of the child killed in the 2012 accident takes Fiat-Chrysler to trial in Georgia, there has been a renewed interest in mandating a recall of older affected Jeeps. Moreover, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow, has indicated that he will use any verdict against the carmaker as leverage to pressure the NHTSA to reopen its investigation of the vehicles to further expand its recall, per Bloomberg News.
Consult with an Automotive Defect Attorney
Over 75 deaths have been attributed to vulnerable gas tanks in Jeep vehicles, with one occurring as recently as November of last year. Though nothing can truly make up for the suffering you’ve experienced, if you or a loved one has been affected by this dangerous design flaw, an automotive defect attorney at the Auto Defects can help you take aggressive action against those responsible for such devastating hazards. To discuss the particulars of your situation with one of our attorneys, please call our offices at today.