The world was saddened on June 19th by the tragic death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin. His sudden and unfortunate death may have prompted the recent Chrysler and Jeep recalls. In the early morning hours of June 19, Yelchin was discovered pinned between his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick column in his California driveway. It was described by investigators as a ‘freak accident’, which left many wondering what could have possibly gone wrong.
The Jeep Cherokee involved in Yelchin’s death was among the models under an ongoing recall for faulty transmissions that caused the cars to roll without warning. While the initial Chrysler and Jeep recalls had already begun before the actor’s untimely death, no vehicle repairs had been implemented, sparking a widespread recall of Jeeps, Chryslers and even Dodge models.
Faulty Monostable Gear Shift is to Blame for Jeep Recalls
The culprit behind the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep recalls seems to have been narrowed down to a Monostable gear shifter issue which appears in a number of the manufacturers’ models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation has found that some 1 million vehicles will be recalled as a result of 121 accidents and 41 injuries relating to the gear shift anomaly. However the death of a rising Hollywood star, beloved by Trekkies, has cast a spotlight on this vast Jeep recall.
Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models are all to receive software updates associated with the mass recall. Engineering wasn’t at fault for the Jeep recalls, but rather a design flaw. The faulty gearshift defaults to the center position without properly advising the driver that the selected gearshift has changed. A number of Jeep owners have reported leaving their vehicles thinking that they had safely put the SUV in park, while in reality the gearshift was in neutral or reverse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the operation of the shifter is ” ….not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection,” and had already begun and investigation prior to Yelchin’s death.
Mass Recalls for Jeep Cherokees and Chrysler Models
Ultimately the faulty Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gear shifter was to blame for Yelchin’s fatal accident. With a little over 800,000 of these gear shifts in circulation in the US alone, it is easy to see how this Jeep recall has become a massive undertaking.
It isn’t just the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV’s model years 2014-15… The mass recall of the faulty gear shift software also includes the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedan models from 2014-2015. The newer Jeep models have already changed the design of the shifter to rectify such dangerous accidental defaults though it is unclear if the newer factory changes were in direct response to this tragedy and recent incidents.
Automakers plan on changing the function of the gear shift to include warning chimes that will be triggered if the driver’s side door is opened and the car is NOT in park. Additionally the new software will prevent the vehicle from rolling and moving under certain circumstances even when the car is not in park.
Are You an Owner of One of the Recalled Jeep Models?
The Jeep Cherokee that crushed “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin had been flagged by the automaker for a problem that could cause the vehicle to roll backwards when left unattended. It is reported that a letter had been mailed out to the star notifying Yelchin of the faulty gearshift, but it is unknown if the actor received the notification or if he was aware his model was involved in an ongoing Jeep recall.
If you are an owner of model-year 2012-2014 Dodge Charger or Chrysler 300 sedans, as well as model-year 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, you may be in harms way or already have fallen victim to an incident stemming from this faulty gear shift software. It is imperative that you contact a professional and competent lawyer from the Starr Law Group to help you rectify the matter. You deserve to be safe and should exercise your rights to receive just compensation. The lawyers at Starr Law are well versed in California Lemon Laws, Personal Injury and Class Action litigation. Allow us the privilege of hearing your case and explaining your options.