Even after Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.56 million Jeeps in 2013 in the wake of mounting pressure from U.S. safety regulars, the Associated Press reports that there continues to be related incidents involving car fires and fatalities. The safety issue involves the vehicles’ plastic fuel tanks that are in the back of the rear axel.
The tanks don’t have much structure to protect themselves from getting hit from behind, which places them at risk of tank punctures and fires. To fix the safety issue, Chrysler is supposed to install trailer hitches behind the Jeeps to add more protection.
However, since the recall, only 12% of the recalled sport utility vehicles have been repaired, with some Jeep owners claiming they’ve had problems when they tried to get the fixes completed. Also, notes the AP, government tests demonstrate that the hitches do protect the tanks during car crashes but only if the Jeep is stationary and the vehicle striking it from behind was moving at no more than 40 mph.
Reports that Jeep fires were occurring have been coming in since the late ’90s, but it wasn’t until 2010 when the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration started probing the claims. It tried recalling 2.7 million older Jeep Libertys and Grand Cherokees linked to 51 fire fatalities. That figure was later changed to over 70 deaths. Chrysler pushed back on the request, and eventually the recall was reduced to 1.56 million jeeps with another 1.2 million earmarked for inspection. Already numerous auto products liability lawsuits have been filed.
If you were injured in a traffic crash that you believed was caused at least in part by an auto defect, you should speak with a Boston car accident lawyer right away. If the accident involved a Jeep fuel tank, you may have reason to pursue a Jeep fuel tank injury lawsuit against the automaker, seller, or distributer. If a negligent driver was involved you also may be able to file a Massachusetts car accident claim.
Fires, Deaths Continue After Jeep Fuel Tank Recall, ABC News/AP, February 11, 2015
NHTSA Statement on Chrysler Announcement Regarding Action on 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys, NHTSA
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