After a hearing held July 2, 2015, at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters, automaker Fiat Chrysler may find itself facing fines or other penalties for what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) views as its mishandling of safety issues, including vehicle recalls.
Recalls are issued by automakers and the NHTSA when a vehicle contains a hidden defect that could result in an accident or injury. Experienced Texas car accident lawyers follow recall news closely because vehicle owners may not know a vehicle has a defect until it is too late to prevent an accident.
Such is the case in one situation at issue during the Fiat Chrysler hearing: the handling of a recall affecting 1.5 million Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. The recall attempts to address the fact that these vehicles have fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle, increasing the risk of a vehicle fire in a rear-end crash. Although the recall to fix the problem was launched in June 2013, only 320,000 of the affected vehicles have been fixed so far, according to an Automotive News report.
Several factors affecting Fiat Chrysler recall performance were addressed in the NHTSA hearing. These included significant delays in producing the parts needed to perform recall repairs, problems distributing those parts to dealerships who can conduct repairs, and errors or omissions in information filed with federal regulators. The NHTSA also noticed that in some cases, repairs recommended by the automaker failed to actually correct the hidden defects that were the subject of the vehicle recall.