Chrysler Jeep “Safety Campaign” Proceeds Slowly
Nearly one year ago, automaker Chrysler reached an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recall 1.56 million Jeeps. The goal of the recall is to fix a problem with the rear-mounted fuel tank, which can cause a fire in a rear-end crash. Because the recall affects so many vehicles owned by Texas families, experienced Texas car accident lawyers have followed it closely.
However, the recall is still proceeding at a snail’s pace, according to industry analysts. The recall, which is meant to include Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles in model years 1993 to 1998 and Jeep Liberty vehicles in model years 2002 through 2007, has not yet been announced. Nor has Chrysler been willing to admit to the NHTSA that the vehicles are in fact defective, although the automaker is taking steps that it says will reduce the risk of a fiery crash.
The NHTSA began investigating potential problems with the fuel tanks in 2009, after the Center for Auto Safety filed a request with the agency to open such an investigation. When the NHTSA asked Chrysler to perform a voluntary recall of the vehicles, the automaker refused, but did say it would conduct a “safety campaign,” encouraging owners to have a trailer hitch installed to reduce the risk of severe impact that might lead to a fire.
In January 2014, the NHTSA gave Chrysler permission to move forward with the trailer hitch plan, despite concerns from industry analysts that the hitches would not adequately address the problem. As 2014 draws to a close, however, delays in getting the trailer hitches distributed to dealerships for installation have resulted in very few affected vehicles receiving the “safety campaign” repair.