Center for Auto Safety Calls for New Look at Fire Risk Jeep Gas Tanks
When products are found to be defective, they are often recalled. But what happens when a recall doesn’t go far enough or adequately address the problem?
Recently, Fiat Chrysler’s massive series of recalls made headlines when the Center for Auto Safety asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reopen its investigation of linked to ruptured fuel tanks and potentially-deadly fires in Jeeps.
Although the NHTSA’s investigation has been concluded, the Center for Auto Safety has asked it to take another look at the issue of fuel tank ruptures and fires in some older models of Jeeps after claiming that more modifications are needed to fix the problem.
The Center for Auto Safety was set up in 1970 by Ralph Nader, a consumer activist. It cited several accidents behind its call including a wreck last April in which Fiat Chrysler was ordered to pay $150 million to the family of a boy who died in a fiery crash. He was just four-years-old.
The grand jury in the case said Fiat Chrysler was “reckless in its design” of the gas tank for its 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The issue of gas tanks in Jeeps catching fire has been a concern for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2010. The agency became concerned that these plastic gas tanks, that were located behind the real axle, were vulnerable to splitting apart in crashes, resulting in fires.
The Jeep gas tanks have been linked to 37 fiery crashes and 51 deaths in the United States.
Fiat Chrysler defended the vehicles but started to recall about 1.56 million 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Libertys three years ago to add trailer hitches to the back of the vehicles to protect the gas tanks. The recall is continuing, and the manufacturer has been criticized over its speed. A letter sent to the federal regulators, last month by the Center for Auto Safety noted that 14 more people were killed in crashes in “which fire was the most harmful event.”
Although the number of recalls in the auto industry has stabilized since 2014, they are continuing. Potentially faulty and dangerous air bags manufactured by Takata is the most significant cause of recalls. The NHTSA is putting more pressure on carmakers to disclose problems quickly and finish recalls. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. announced this month that it was adding about 198,000 Model Year 2008 Corolla and Corolla Matrix and Model Year 2008-2010 Lexus SC430 due to the airbag issue.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective car or a part, call our attorneys today at (757) 333-3333 for a free consultation.