Fires And Deaths Continue Even After Jeep Fuel Tank Recall
An Associated Press news report states that even though Chrysler recalled 1.56 million Jeeps in 2013 for defective fuel tanks, fires and deaths continue to happen.
The report gives the example of Kayla White, a driver who slowed her SUV behind two cars to exit a suburban Detroit Freeway on Veterans Day.
Her 2003 Jeep Liberty was rammed from behind by Cadillac STS. White’s Jeep rolled onto its side and exploded in flames. Other drivers or firefighters could not help.
White, 23 and eight months pregnant, died of burn injuries and smoke inhalation.
Recalled Vehicles Not Fixed
White is apparently one of more than 70 people killed in fires involving older Jeeps with plastic fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle.
Fiat Chrysler, which manufactures Jeeps, issued the recall in June 2013 under pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
But, so far, only 12 percent of the SUVs have been repaired in the 18 months since the recall. White’s Jeep was among those that were not fixed.
Even though the driver of the Cadillac was charged with committing a moving violation that caused a death, safety advocates rightly point out that Chrysler that dragged its feet on the recall and then failed to fix the defective vehicles, is equally to blame.
Defective Fuel Tank Design
The Jeep SUVs in question have rear-mounted tanks that have little structure to protect them if struck from behind. This makes them susceptible to fires.
Moving the gas tank in front of the axle would be expensive and difficult. So Chrysler’s remedy involved installing trailer hitches on the rear of Jeeps as additional protection.
Government testing showed the hitches protected the tanks in crashes up to 40 mph when stationary Jeeps were rear-ended. However, at higher speeds, they would not help.
Apparently, White tried to get the repair done a few weeks before her death, but was told by a Jeep dealer that parts were not available.
Auto Product Liability Issues
White was apparently not the only one who had problems getting the repairs done. Since the recall was announced, more than 840 people complained to the government about the hitches not being available.
Despite two letters demanding faster action, Chrysler has only repaired 12 percent of the recalled Jeeps leaving hundreds of thousands of dangerous vehicles on our roadways.
Chrysler has faced more than 40 lawsuits and legal claims over the Jeeps settling many out of court.
It is unacceptable that Jeep has done such a poor job of fixing these dangerous and defective vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these exploding Jeeps, please contact Bisnar Chase who will ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.
Chrysler has shown callous disregard for the safety and welfare of consumers who own these vehicles and it’s absolutely outrageous.