The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched in investigation into an estimated 1 million Fiat Chrysler pickup trucks and SUVs after receiving reports from owners that the vehicles had rolled away after being parked.
According to the NHTSA, the problem may affect 2013-2016 model year Ram 1500 pickup trucks and 2014-2016 Dodge Durango SUVs. Its investigation into the rollaways, which have so far been attributed to 25 crashes and nine injuries, could lead to a recall of the vehicles. For now, the safety watchdog is urging owners of these vehicles to both put the vehicle in park and set the parking brake before exiting their vehicles.
This problem is separate from the issue that caused the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin in June of this year. Yelchin was killed when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down the driveway and pinned him against his mailbox. It is believed the actor thought he had put the SUV in park, but, confused by the electronic shifter, instead put the vehicle in neutral.
Yelchin’s death sparked an investigation into the e-shifter, which also appears in certain Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans, and forced FCA to recall 1.1 million cars to remedy the problem. The fix came in the way of a software upgrade that will provide audio and visual warnings to the driver if the car is not placed in park and will also automatically place the car into park in certain circumstances.
FCA is cooperating with the investigation.