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Actor's Tragic Death Tied to Recalled Vehicle

Actor Anton Yelchin was recently killed when his SUV rolled away and pinned him against an iron gate. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in the tragic crash was recalled, but a fix is not yet available.

In April, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled more than 1.1 million vehicles over concerns that they could roll away after drivers exit. The problem is that the design of the shifters is confusing for drivers, which may lead them to get out of their vehicles without first selecting Park. In announcing the recall, the automaker stated that the issue was linked to 41 injuries, 212 crashes, and 308 reports of property damage.

As Reuters reported, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its initial investigation last August. It concluded that the shifter mechanism was "not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection." Because the shifter mechanism was "clearly a safety issue," NHTSA urged Fiat Chrysler to recall the vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler initially stated that it would not be able to start repairing the defective vehicles until the fourth quarter of this year. In the wake of Yelchin’s death, the automaker is moving up the timeframe, but the software fix still won’t be ready until next month.

In response to the delay, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, stated that "while waiting for a recall remedy to be developed, the predictable happened. Anton Yelchin died. How many more people will be killed or injured waiting for a recall remedy of this fatal manufacturing flaw?"

Once available, the repair will prevent the vehicles from rolling away, even if Park is not selected. "Until all of these recalled vehicles are fixed, owners should take extra care to make sure their car is in park and turned completely off before exiting," NHTSA warned.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a defective vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.