Jeep owners in Illinois may be relieved to learn that the parts needed to perform a safety recall on 1.56 million of the popular SUVs may soon be available. The recall, which was announced in June 2013, addresses a vulnerability in some older Jeep models that safety regulators say makes them prone to catching fire when they are struck from the rear in an automobile accident.
The Detroit-based automaker maintains that their vehicles are safe, and they became embroiled in a standoff with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, when the agency demanded the recall of 2.7 million Jeeps. The ensuing compromise led to a recall of far fewer vehicles than NHTSA had originally demanded, and it did not require Chrysler to admit that the SUVs were faulty or unsafe.
The NHTSA determined that many older Jeep models were more prone to fire due to their rear mounted fuel tanks. Chrysler has stated that the vehicles met all federal safety requirements in place at the time of their manufacture. However, the requirements for fuel tank integrity in rear end collisions have become become more stringent in recent years. The problem will be addressed by installing a tow hitch. It is believed that producing the number of tow hitches required to perform the recall has been the cause of the delay.
In an ideal world, manufacturers and government regulators would both consider the safety of the public to be their primary concern. While there is no compelling evidence to suggest that NHTSA and Chrysler have not taken this position here, the seven-month delay does raise some questions. When people suffer injury or damage due to faulty or unsafe products they have legal remedies available to them, and this is especially true when the problems are known and unresolved. In these cases, a personal injury attorney may bring a legal action seeking a monetary award to compensate victims for their pain and suffering as well as their property damage.
Source: USA Today, “Jeep recall from last June still not begun“, James R. Healey, January 09, 2014