NHTSA says it has reports of 314 complaints, including 121
crashes and 30 injuries after vehicles rolled away, some
striking buildings, drivers or other cars. Injury reports
include three complaints of a fractured pelvis and four others
requiring some other degree of hospitalization.
No deaths have been reported.
Fiat Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said the automaker is
cooperating fully with the investigation.
The agency opened an investigation in August of 408,000 Jeep
Grand Cherokee SUVs and upgraded it to an engineering analysis,
adding the Dodge and Chrysler cars to its probe. The upgrade is
a step before the agency can demand a recall.
Federal auto safety regulators said testing of the vehicles'
electronic gear shifter found it "not intuitive and provides
poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the
potential for unintended gear selection."
NHTSA said the vehicles attempt to warn drivers who exit without
putting the gear-shift in Park. If the driverís door is opened
when the gear-shift is not in Park, a chime sounds and a message
is displayed to warn the driver.
Many of the crashes occurred soon after the vehicles were
purchased. One complaint said that in September 2015, a new Jeep
Grand Cherokee in Leonardtown, Maryland, rolled forward and
struck headstones in a cemetery causing $1,500 in damage.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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