Keller Rohrback Continues Investigation of Fiat Chrysler Vehicles Recalled for Rollaway Risk
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 and deaths linked to the car’s automatic transmission shifter.
Fiat Chrysler is recalling 2012-14 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 sedans, and 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. Drivers have reported that the unique shifter design in these vehicles is confusing and has resulted in accidents. Unlike a traditional shifter that physically moves into and out of a gear, and remains in position, the electronic shifter in the affected vehicles always returns to a central position after a shift is made, a process the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has described as “not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.” Drivers have reported that they have stepped out of their vehicle, believing that they have shifted into park, when the vehicle actually remained in neutral. This can result in the car rolling away and causing damage or injury.
CBS News reports that actor Anton Yelchin, 27, was tragically killed in a rollaway accident involving a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. While the exact circumstances of Mr. Yelchin’s death and any direct connection to the recalled transmission are not yet known, a police lieutenant told CBS news that it appeared Yelchin had not properly put his car in park.
Fiat Chrysler, in its recall announcement on Friday, April 22, 2016, has denied that any evidence of equipment failure exists, and reminded drivers to ensure their vehicles are in park when they exit their vehicles. A Fiat Chrysler spokesman notes that as part of the recall “tip sheets describing proper operation of the shifter” were sent to affected customers. Additionally, the company anticipates installing software updates on vehicles to automatically prevent them from moving, even if the driver fails to put the vehicle in park.
If you or a family member owns or leases one of the affected vehicles, please call attorneys Amy Williams-Derry, Ryan McDevitt, or Gretchen Freeman Cappio at 800.776.6044 or via email at to discuss our investigation and your potential claims against Fiat Chrysler.