The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is demanding answers from Chrysler regarding the amount of time it is taking for repairs promised as part of a June 2013 recall of Jeep sport utility vehicles. Federal investigators, as well as RI personal injury attorneys, expressed concerns about these vehicles’ rear-mounted fuel tanks after at least 51 deaths resulted from ruptured fuel tanks catching fire in a crash. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that almost 15 months later, “almost none of them have been fixed.” (The Wall Street Journal)
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (enacted in 1966 and recodified at 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 et seq.) authorizes the NHTSA to issue vehicle safety standards and require manufacturers to recall vehicles with safety-related defects or those that are not up to federal safety standards (safecar.gov). In a June 2013 letter, the NHTSA requested that Chrysler recall three models – the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Liberty, and the Cherokee – after many caught fire in high-speed accidents. The requested recall would total 2.7 million vehicles; however Chrysler only agreed to recall 1.6 million vehicles: the ’93-’98 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the ’02-’07 Jeep Liberty.
The NHTSA says the first repairs were scheduled for August 1, 2014. Chrysler claims that the repairs are being delayed due to the search for suppliers needed to accommodate the “volume of this part that far exceed[s] normal demand” (NHTSA Questions Chrysler). The long wait for a repair places drivers and passengers at risk for personal injuries, and potentially in need of a RI car accident attorney.
Indeed, in the time since the recall was announced, 4 people have died in rear-end Jeep crashes. (The Wall Street Journal)