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Jeep’s Design Flaw Could Turn Deadly During Auto Accident

If you’re among the thousands of people who drive Chrysler Jeeps in San Francisco, there is an important recall you should be aware of. Last month, the Chrysler Group decided to recall 2.7 million Jeeps. Specifically, the Jeep Grand Cherokee were made from 1993 to 2004 and the Jeep Liberty made from 2002 to 2007. The recall was issued because it was found that, when struck from behind in an auto accident, the vehicles had a high risk of catching on fire.

The Fight for a Recall

This recall was not one that Chrysler easily agreed to, as the company originally stated they would not comply with the recall demand. They tried, albeit in vain, to prove that their Jeeps were safe and drivers were in no danger. However, the data shows the cars have a serious design defect that makes it more likely passengers will end up suffering dangerous burn injuries if involved in low-impact auto accidents.

After finally agreeing to the recall, Chrysler still would not go the extra mile for Jeep drivers, allowing them only to come in for a free inspection and “in some cases provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.” The recall has left thousands of Jeep owners worried about safety issues and the possibility of an auto accident.

Jeep’s Design Flaw and Auto Accident Dangers

The problem with the design of these particular Jeeps is related to the placement of the gas tank towards the back of the automobile. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently revealed that they had conducted their own investigations, which conclusively found that rear-end accidents can puncture the Jeep’s gas tank, causing gas to leak out and easily ignite. In fact, at least 51 people have been killed in 37 separate automobile accidents associated with the gas tank’s design flaw.

Experts and public interest groups like the Center for Auto Safety have suggested that, in order to properly fix the Jeep’s defect, Chrysler needs to place a steel plate over the plastic gas tank of each vehicle involved in the recall. Unfortunately, under to the terms of the agreement, Chrysler won’t even have to repair all 2.7 million Jeeps involved. Even worse, instead of doing as the experts have suggested, Chrysler will instead place a factory trailer hitch on the frame of the Jeep in order to absorb some of the impact of a rear-end collision. The idea is to provide a bit of protection in the case of a crash, hopefully avoiding the fiery end that so many others have already suffered.

So, due to the way Chrysler has chosen to handle the recall, there will be about 1.2 million Jeep Grand Cherokees made from 1999 through 2004 that will only be called in for a free inspection. If the owners have already installed their own after-market trailer hitch, Chrysler will replace it with a shiny new factory hitch. Any of those vehicles that have not had a hitch installed will not receive one. Although this is extremely confusing, it’s what Chrysler has chosen to do…or not do.

Chrysler has, however, agreed to do work on the remaining 1.6 million Jeeps involved in the recall. This group includes the Grand Cherokee made from 1993 to 1998, along with the Liberty made from 2002 through 2007. Any of these vehicles with a factory-installed hitch will have no work done. If the owner has installed an after-market hitch, Chrysler will replace it with a factory hitch. Those Jeeps without a hitch will have one installed by Chrysler.

You Own a Recalled Jeep, Now What?

If you are the owner of one of the Jeeps involved in the recall, Chrysler’s Jeep division is supposed to send you a recall notice via first-class mail. They get your information from state motor vehicle offices, so if your Jeep is registered in someone else’s name, you may need to contact the dealership on your own.

In the letter, you will find details about:

  • How to get your vehicle fixed
  • When or if the free repairs will be available
  • How long you can expect the repairs to take
  • A telephone number to call if you have questions or concerns
  • Contact information for Jeep recall questions

More Information

If you own one of these Jeeps, you should be aware of the issue, drive accordingly and bring your vehicle into the dealer at the earliest opportunity so mechanics can address the issue. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, whether in an auto accident, by a defective product or in another type of accident, you should contact a trusted San Francisco personal injury lawyer in order to discuss your claim. You may be entitled to seek compensation and the hardworking personal injury attorneys at the San Francisco law office of Nelson C. Barry have over 30 years of experience in representing the rights of injured individuals in the Bay Area. Call us at (415) 587-0550 to schedule your free initial consultation.

 

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