Feds Investigating 1 Million Fiat Chrysler Vehicles for Potential Rollaway Threat

Late-model Rams and Durangos may have a bad tendency to go AWOL.

byWill Sabel Courtney| PUBLISHED Dec 20, 2016 4:03 PM
Feds Investigating 1 Million Fiat Chrysler Vehicles for Potential Rollaway Threat

It feels a little like deja vu all over again. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is investigating roughly one million late-model trucks and SUVs built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over reports that the vehicles may be prone to rolling away after being parked, Automotive News is reporting.

The investigation reportedly covers 2014-2016 model year Dodge Durangos and 2013-2016 model year Ram 1500 pickup trucks. According to the report, the government says it has 25 reports from owners alleging the vehicles rolled away and crashed, which led to at least nine injuries.

FCA said it is cooperating with the federal authorities, according to AN.

The investigation does not appear to be tied to the previous recall earlier this year of more than 1.1 million FCA vehicles over rollaway risks. Those products—late-model Jeep Grand Cherokee were equipped with a T-shaped electronic shifter that looked like a boat throttle; the Ram and Dodge vehicles affected by this latest investigation use a rotary shift knob, somewhat similar to the one found on some recent Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Regardless, the inquiry is sure to conjure up unpleasant memories at FCA, given the public relations nightmare the carmaker went through as a result of the earlier rollaway issue. That problem, the government reports, has been connected to at least 68 injuries and more than 300 instances of property damage, including 266 crashes; it may have also been connected to the death of actor Anton Yelchin, who was killed last June by a Jeep with the recalled shifter when it rolled backwards and crushed him.

While the investigation is under way, the government is reportedly recommending all owners of the afflicted Durangos and Rams use their parking brakes. Which, to be honest, is something we all ought to be doing.