Government Expands Investigation of Jeep Gas Tank Fires
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the government has expanded its probe of Jeep gas tank fires by adding the Cherokee and Liberty to the list. The two-year long investigation was launched in response to a Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petition, one of the nation's oldest safety lobbying groups, after CAS noted a higher rate of fatal fires in Grand Cherokees than other comparable models, such as the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Explorer, and Toyota 4Runner. The investigation affects 1993 - 2004 Grand Cherokees, 1993 - 2001 Cherokees, and 2002 - 2007 Liberty SUVs totaling 5.1 million vehicles. So far, results have shown that 15 people, including two children, have burned to death in 26 Grand Cherokee fires although none of the SUVs have been recalled to this date.
Chrysler, manufacturer of Jeep, has taken steps to rally these uncomfortable findings. For instance, in 2005, Chrysler redesigned the Grand Cherokee by increasing it size and moving the gas tank under the cargo department from its position between the bumper and rear axle. Still, NHTSA's latest action purports that the investigation include alternate causes of fuel-tank fires in Jeep crashes, and that automobile manufacturers have a responsibility to meet and exceed industry standards when it comes to protecting consumer safety.