In prior posts, we have noted how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conducted investigations and pushed automakers to initiate recalls for defects that raise potential dangers. When recall recommendations come from federal regulators, they are often adhered to.
This is why it is surprising that Chrysler is refusing to recall vehicles deemed dangerous by the NHTSA. Specifically, the Administration is asking that the automaker recall Jeep Grand Cherokees made between 1993 and 2004, as well as Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007.
Chrysler's refusal is indeed rare, and the NHTSA may need a court order to force Chrysler to comply.
The NHTSA says a significant, potential danger lies with the vehicle's fuel tank, which can crack and leak fuel if the car is struck from behind. Leaking fuel could potentially start a fire or lead to an explosion.
According to ABC News, Chrysler redisigned corrected this problem when it redesigned the Grand Cherokee in 2005, and changed the body of the Liberty in 2007. It also reports that recalling older Jeeps would be costly and very time consuming. Also, the company says that its 30 years of data indicate that the danger of fires stemming from rear impact crashes is exceedingly rare.
Despite Chrysler's view of the potential danger, automakers have a duty to correct defects that can harm consumers. If they do not do so, they could be held liable for the injuries and property damage stemming from an auto accident.
If you have questions about an automaker's liablity in a fatal motor vehicle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Source: ABC News.com, Chrysler refuses request to recall vehicles, June 4, 2013