Fiat Chrysler Announces Recall Due to Cruise Control Glitch
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento auto product liability lawyer. Fiat Chrysler announced that it is scheduling a recall of almost five million cars from the United States market. The recall is due to a software glitch that can make it impossible for the driver to disengage the cruise control. This results in a driver being unable to control the speed of their vehicle, possibly leading to severe accidents. This recall is another example of software dysfunction during a period where it is being used more frequently to take over safety functions. This is the first time the company has issued a large recall since one was announced two years ago. That recall involved 4.3 million automobiles with air bag-related issues. The company was fined penalties of $175 million in 2015 for other safety issues.
Fiat Chrysler has warned owners not to use their cruise control until the software defect is fixed. According to the company, there have been no accidents, injuries or deaths related to the recall. However, the owner of a 2017 Dodge Journey reported that he was unable to disengage the cruise control function. The company downplayed the likelihood of an accident, saying that an “unlikely series of events” would need to transpire before it became a problem. They also said that a driver could apply their brakes or put the vehicle in neutral to stop it. Turning off the cruise control switch will not work.
How the Cruise Control Gets Stuck
The problem with the cruise control would require that two events happen at the same time. Vehicles usually experience a burst in speed when necessary to maintain the cruise control at an even level such as going up a hill. For the problem with the cruise control to happen, a simultaneous short circuit would have to occur. If both events occurred, then it might be impossible to turn off the cruise control. The software fix will eliminate the possibility of a short circuit.
An assortment of vehicles are involved in the recall. Both the Chrysler 200 and 300 are recalled as is the Dodge Charger. The Dodge Challenger and the Dodge Durango and Journey are included on the list of recalled vehicles. Different models of the Jeep Cherokee and an assortment of Ram pickups are also involved. Models range from 2014 to 2019. If you own a Fiat Chrysler vehicle, it is best to check with your dealer to see if your car or pickup is included in the recall.
What Fiat Chrysler Owners Need to Do
After checking to make sure their vehicle is involved, owners should bring it to the dealership. The dealer will update the software appropriately. There is no cost for this.
Recalls are issued by the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when any vehicle does not meet safety standards and may expose the owner to risk. Recalls are good for 10 years. Manufacturers are obligated to notify owners about the safety risk and offer a free remedy. This is done by correlating vehicle purchase letters and state auto registrations. Even if a notification letter is not issued to an owner, they are able to bring the vehicle to a dealership for repair.
Accidents Due to Defects
If a manufacturer fails to issue a recall and someone is injured or killed, the person or their family can file a product liability claim against the company. In California, it is not necessary for the plaintiff (injured party) to prove negligence by the manufacturer. This reflects the doctrine of strict liability under which California law operates. Simply put, if someone manufactures, designs or sells a product that is found to be defective, dangerous or is without warnings, the company is responsible for the damages. The only caveat is that the product must be used in the way for which it was intended.
Sacramento Auto Product Liability Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento auto product liability lawyer. If you or a family member has been hurt by a defective product, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly and free advice. You can reach me online if it is easier for you.
I have helped numerous residents of Sacramento and Northern California for the past 36 years with all types of accidents.
You can find out more about me and my practice by clicking on the following links:
I am a proud member of the milliondollaradvocates.com.
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/chrysler-vintage-classic-car-2461909/
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