We previously wrote an article entitled “Chrysler Refuses to Recall Vehicles,” but on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Chrysler finally agreed to recall some of their older Jeep models due to the potential for fuel tank ruptures and fires in the event of rear-end collisions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wanted Chrysler to recall 2.7 million sport utility vehicles due to a potential defect in the fuel tanks; however, Chrysler initially refused to recall its Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles—claiming that the design and position of these fuel tanks were not unsafe. NHTSA requested that Chrysler recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Liberty SUVs from 2002 through 2007.
After much discussion, Chrysler and NHTSA have reached an agreement. The recall, however, only covers 1.56 million of the 2.7 million Jeeps that NHTSA wanted Chrysler to repair. This recall affects 2002 through 2007 Jeep Liberties and 1993 through 1998 Grand Cherokees. An investigation into Jeep Cherokee SUVs from 1993 through 2001 is underway for the same problem.
According to a three-year investigation by NHTSA, 51 people died in fiery wrecks in Jeeps in which gas tanks were positioned behind the rear axle. These deaths included 44 deaths by fires in Grand Cherokees following rear-impact collisions and seven deaths in Liberties after rear-end crashes.
Among those deaths, a four-year-old boy from Bainbridge died in a rear-end accident in Georgia, as he was a passenger in a 1999 Grand Cherokee that was engulfed in flames.
The Peachtree City accident attorneys at Shane Smith Law are saddened to hear of these needless deaths, and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones in Jeep fires.