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Feds Close Dodge, Ram Rollaway Investigation

» Posted April 8, 2024Resources | Share This Post

The federal agency that enforces car safety standards recently closed an investigation into reports of Dodge and Ram vehicles rolling away unexpectedly, finding no defects or design issues.

The move closes a nearly eight-year probe, in which investigators focused on electronic rotary gear shifters in some 1.3 million Ram 1500 pickups and Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Stellantis, the company that owns the brands, said they received more than 1,400 reports of rollaway situations, including nearly 700 crashes that resulted in 150 injuries and one death.

NHTSA said Stellantis fixed the issue through a software update. The update causes vehicles to automatically shift into park when the driver's door opens. According to the agency, the move was “effective in reducing the frequency of vehicle rollaway incidents in the subject vehicles.” 

The probe covered certain 2013-16 Ram 1500s and 2014-16 Dodge Durangos.

NHTSA cautioned that some of the rollaway reports came after the software update. The agency added, however, that it did not find an “actionable defect” causing those rollaways. Slick surfaces and other mechanical failures may have been to blame in those situations, according to NHTSA.

The decision to close the investigation means that vehicles will not be recalled.

“Given the absence of an identified safety defect based on available information and [Stellantis]’s customer satisfaction campaign which addresses the failure mode," the agency said, "further action is not warranted at this time."

Understanding the California Lemon Law

The investigation may be over, but Stellantis and other major vehicle manufacturers continue to struggle to ensure that their cars are actually safe to drive.

Earlier this year, for instance, Stellantis called back more than 142,000 Ram pickup trucks, citing problems with high-beam headlights and turn signals. The move came months after the company recalled more than 300,000 Ram pickup trucks over fire risks. 

There is some good news for car owners and lessors in California, however. You have some valuable rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.

The California lemon law requires automakers to perform a variety of repairs on vehicles while the cars are under warranty. The law - formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act - also forces those companies to buy back cars that they cannot or simply refuse to fix properly. That includes covering the purchase price, financing fees, and other related expenses.

An auto manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle under the lemon law. It is up to the owner, however, to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.

There is no specific number of repair requests or attempts that must happen before the buyback or replace requirement kicks in. An experienced California lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and options.

Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney

If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.  

Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney.

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Posted By: Norma Molina