Keller Rohrback L.L.P. Investigates Fiat Chrysler’s Recall of Vehicles for Transmission Problems Linked to Rollaway
Attorneys from Keller Rohrback L.L.P. are investigating automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (“Fiat Chrysler”) (BIT:FCA; NYSE:FCAU) recall of 1.1 million vehicles worldwide due to injuries arising from problems with the car’s electronically controlled shift levers.
The electronically controlled shift levers return to the same position after each manipulation, causing confusion by drivers who are used to conventional transmissions that engage when the car is shifted. Based on the cars’ non-intuitive shift mechanism, drivers mistakenly think their vehicle is in park, when in fact it is not, and have reported that their vehicle rolled away when they exited the vehicle. Rollaway incidents like these may result in serious injury to the driver, passengers, pedestrians, or property in the path of the rolling vehicle. To date, hundreds of such incidents have been reported and dozens of people have been injured as a result.
Fiat Chrysler commented that, “unless due care is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the status of their vehicles,” a statement that appears to shift blame onto car owners for the dangerous effects of their vehicle’s transmission display. However, testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the “shifter is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.”
The automaker announced on Friday, April 22, 2016, it would be recalling an estimated 811,586 midsize SUVs and full-size cars in the U.S. The affected model-years include the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 Sedans and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles. Car owners have not yet been notified that service is available.