Recent years have seen more recalls among automobiles on American roads than any time previously in history, and Phoenix drivers have been affected along with everyone else. A massive airbag recall, recalls for faulty transmissions, faulty brakes, and poorly designed electronics, as well as other issues that are not linked to the basic function of a car have all proliferated the U.S. market. Sometimes, the recalls are made by manufacturers before the damages caused by the design failures accumulate. Almost always, though, at least one car accident or one injury occurs before a problem is discovered.
Now, a recent recall over certain models of Jeeps is being investigated to determine whether it played a role in the death of a popular Hollywood actor on the rise.
In April of 2016, Fiat Chrysler Jeep recalled approximately 1.1 million large vehicles, including Jeep Grand Cherokees, for an issue related to placing the vehicle in park. The design of the vehicle made it difficult to determine if these affected cars were actually in park, confusing some drivers and allowing them to exit their vehicles without securing their cars or SUVs in park. A recall was announced to install a software update that would reportedly eliminate the confusion, guaranteeing that a car was in park and therefore not in danger of rolling away while its occupants exited. However, the fix for the problem has taken some time to be available and though owners have been notified of the recall and problem, no repairs have yet been made; rather, repairs are now expected to be available by the end of the summer.
The fix may be too late for Anton Yelchin, a well-known Hollywood actor who played Chekov in the most recent Star Trek movies produced by J.J. Abrams. Reports indicate that the actor exited his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee just over a week ago when the vehicle rolled backward, pinning the man between the SUV and a fence near his home. Unfortunately, Yelchin lost his life due to the accident.
It is not yet clear whether the recalled issue is what led to Yelchin’s accident or whether other, unrelated factors played a role. At this time, local officials and those associated with Jeep are looking into all possibilities to determine what happened in the moments just before Yelchin’s death to fully understand the collision and to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Drivers who have been notified that their vehicle is affected by the recall should exercise extreme caution when placing their SUV in park before existing the vehicle. Rollaways appear to be possible, even if it is determined that the recall was not a factor in Yelchin’s death. Concerned owners should contact their authorized dealers to make sure they are safe to continue driving their vehicles until a repair is available and to learn more about the timeline for repairs this summer.
Prior Blog Entry:
Weekend Traffic Expected as Flagstaff Hosts Two Music Festivals, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 16, 2016.
Fiat Chrysler Jeep Cherokee Recall Investigated in Star Trek Actor’s Death, by Polina Noskova, Claims Journal, published June 22, 2016.