Accidents Stemming From Confusing Gear Shifts
» Posted August 23, 2016 Resources | Share This Post
When car owners have problems with car defects in new vehicles, California’s lemon law could provide remedies for consumers under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, some problems with cars are more than just a hassle. Detroit News reportedly recently that the government is investigating confusing gear shifters which may be responsible for causing serious accidents.
In recent years, there have been record numbers of problems with cars that turn out to be fatal. From airbags with exploding shrapnel, to cars with faulty ignition switches, to gear shifters that don't work as expected, cars are letting down consumers in all sorts of dangerous ways. Car owners need to know what their rights are and what remedies they can pursue whenever problems arise.
Some Gear Shifts Are Confusing
The confusing gear gifts are found on Fiat Chrysler cars. Detroit News indicates that the car maker began getting complaints from customers shortly after the vehicle went on sale. The problem is that drivers have a hard time telling if the transmission has been put into park or not when the vehicle stops.
The design of the gear shifter may be in violation of basic guidelines for vehicle controls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Regulators received 686 consumer complaints about the cars and launched an investigation.
Unfortunately, the government report revealed that as many as 266 crashes are linked to the problem cars, and the accidents injured an estimated 68 people. One of the people who was involved in an accident was Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, who was crushed and killed by his SUV in June of 2016 when the vehicle pinned him against a mailbox pillar outside of his Los Angeles home. The car rolled into him and trapped him. Many other drivers said their cars had rolled too, after being put into park.
Yelchin died in June, but his vehicle had actually been recalled by Jeep in April after the driver complaints were received. The car maker had begun to provide its dealers with a software update shortly before the death of the actor, although the company had originally said the update probably would not be available until July or August despite the fact that there were people at serious risk due to the issues. The car maker had reportedly sent out letters on May 14 with instructions to the vehicle owners to use the parking brake before exiting the car.
More than a year later, however, NHTSA was still investigating. The agency only closed the investigation of June of 2016 and only after the car maker agreed to recall 1.1 million vehicles. Safety advocates are concerned that the recall process took so long, but Fiat Chrysler has indicated it will start telling consumers to make service appointments to get the problem resolved.
When cars have defects like this that cause accidents, the car manufacturers need to do better. Unfortunately, car problems happen all the time with varying levels of risk, but always causing significant hassle to consumers. Lemon law should provide help in many situations where San Diego car owners have repeated issues with vehicle defects.