The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new round of vehicle recalls related to defective shifting mechanisms that are blamed for a series of vehicle rollaway incidents, including one linked to the tragic death of actor Anton Yelchin earlier this year.
In response to increasing reports from concerned motorists, the NHTSA announced a new probe of Fiat Chrysler vehicles, including the 2013 – 2016 Ram 1500 pickup and the 2014 – 2016 Dodge Durango SUV. The focus of the recall is on transmissions that are shifted electronically using a rotary control on the center console. So far, the electronic shifters are blamed for 43 rollaway incidents. In June, actor Anton Yelchin died when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away after he had gotten out, pinning him between the vehicle and a driveway gate.
The electronic rotary shifters are increasingly popular, but many motorists are confused about the how the mechanisms operate. The NHTSA launched a similar investigation into 39,000 Jaguar Land Rover models based on driver complaints.
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