By on October 6, 2016

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior-006

A new wrinkle has cropped up in the lawsuit filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles by the parents of late Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin.

Yelchin died in June after being pinned against a gatepost by his 2015 Jeep Cherokee, which was subject to a recall for its confusing Monostable shift lever. According to documents obtained by TMZ, the dealer that sold him the vehicle blames the victim for the accident. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2016

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side rear

The parents of Anton Yelchin filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in a Los Angeles court yesterday, alleging that the automaker knew about the defective gear shift design in their son’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Yelchin, the actor who played Chekov in the Star Trek film franchise, died in late June after his vehicle, equipped with FCA’s maligned Monostable shift lever, rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a gate post. The 2015 Grand Cherokee was found in neutral, with the engine running. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2016

GC Shifter

My most devoted readers (Hi, Mom!) know that I’ve used the (Web) pages of Road&Track a few times in the past couple of years to argue for standardizing automotive control location and operation. The general response to my clarion call for action has been a rousing middle finger from the reader, accompanied by an unambiguous suggestion that I use a standardized automatic-transmission shift lever to go fuck myself sideways. What can I say? They were even meaner to John the Baptist, you know.

Last week, some fellow from Hollywood (might have) managed to let his own Grand Cherokee crush him to death. And now, to quote Heath Ledger, everybody loses their minds. There’s a class action lawsuit. The Monostable shifter is being maligned from all quarters, often by the same people who said that the Chrysler rotary PRNDL control was also a problem.

In my previous articles, I predicted that the government, or the courts, would set the automakers’ houses in order if they couldn’t do it themselves. Perhaps that will happen now. I hope not. In the meantime, however, let’s take a brief look at the arguments from control standardization, and the arguments for deviating from those standards sensibly.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2016

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-004

It didn’t take long for perennial automotive litigant Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro to assemble a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the wake of actor Anton Yelchin’s death.

The Seattle-based law firm filed suit against FCA yesterday, alleging the recalled Monostable gear shift levers in certain models pose a risk to drivers, and could have contributed to Yelchin’s death. The firm, acting on behalf of three clients in California, Florida and Ohio, called the shifters “dangerously defective” and demanded a jury trial. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2016

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side

A software fix issued to Jeep dealers sheds light on how Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to stop the accidental rollaways plaguing many of its vehicles.

The dealer service document, issued for recalled 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees with the confusing Monostable shift lever, was obtained and published by Jalopnik.

FCA voluntarily recalled 1.1 million vehicles in April after the shifter, which sometimes stays in gear after drivers think they’ve shifted into “park,” was linked to hundreds of rollaways and 41 injuries. That was before the shifter became the focus in the recent death of actor Anton Yelchin. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2016

2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Overland

Less than two days after Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin died in a bizarre vehicle crash in his Los Angeles driveway, the maker of his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee says it will investigate the incident.

Yelchin, 27, was found crushed between his SUV and a brick gatepost two nights ago. The vehicle, which was found in neutral with the engine still running, apparently rolled backwards down the steep driveway and hit him.

Police reports identified his Grand Cherokee as one of the models recalled due to its confusing Monostable shift lever, with Reuters now reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles promises to conduct a “thorough investigation.” (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2016

Anton Yelchin

According to multiple news reports, promising young actor Anton Yelchin, known for his portrayal of Chekhov in the reborn Star Trek movie series, was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox at his driveway security gate.

The Jeep was parked on a steep hill but found in neutral gear when he was discovered dead.

Considering recent recalls with Fiat Chrysler Automobile shifters, could a badly designed shifter have killed the 27 year old? And could this be the first death attributable to the design flaw?

(Read More…)

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