On April 27th, 2016, the FCA issued a recall that affected around 1.1 million vehicles sold by Fiat Chrysler under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands. The recall targeted certain models that used what is known as a “Monostable shifter.” This shifter, developed by a German company called ZF, was chosen by Fiat Chrysler for models in their extensive lineup of cars even though it contained what is widely considered to be a non-intuitive form of shifting. Specifically, the shifter, which is often described as being “mushroom shaped,” always returns to the center position after being used, which confuses many people who are used to a shifter remaining in a certain place to indicate the specific mode (park, reverse, neutral, or drive).
The greatest danger associated with this component is that a person may not have their car in park when they have stopped driving. Instead, they may accidentally shift the car into neutral, drive, or reverse, potentially causing damage to the vehicle, surrounding structures, or nearby individuals. This makes the recall unusual in that it addresses a part that is not exactly defective or suffering from malfunctions, but a component that confuses drivers.
Unfortunately, this confusion has led to a number of serious situations. Most recently, the actor Anton Yelchin (mostly known for his role as Chekov in the recent Star Trek reboots) was killed in his driveway when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against a mailbox. Although it has not been stated for certain that the faultily designed shifter lies behind the actor’s death, there have already been over 120 accidents and over 40 injuries reported as a result of the confusing shifter.
This recall affects a huge number of cars, with an estimated 811,586 located in the U.S. alone, and the rest located within Canada, Mexico, and other locations. The specific cars affected include by the recall are the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans dated 2012-2014 and Jeep Grand Cherokee’s (such as the one Yelchin was driving) dated from 2014 to 2015.
More contemporary versions of these models have changed the design of the shifter so that it indicates more clearly what position your car is in, and whether or not you are actually parked when you want to be.
If you or a loved one have been affected by this recall, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).
- Gear Shift Confusion Causes Chrysler Recall
- FCA to Recall 1.1 Million Vehicles for Confusing Shifter
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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