A few weeks ago we heard a report from on of our readers regarding a problem with their Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly slipping from park into reverse. Here's what the reader had to say:
On July 4 I heard a radio broadcast regarding jeep grand Cherokee Laredo between 1996 and 2000 [sic] popping out of park into reverse. There were apparently 35-80 reports of such. My 1998 jeep did do this and I was run over. I want to get in touch with others who have had the same problem. I want to know if there is an attorney who is accumulating the data to get it to Daimler Chrysler so they will check the part of the vehicle that may be at fault, and I want to get in contact with anyone who can get out to the public a plea for those who have had the same problem to come forward.
Over the past few days, major news outlets have been picking up on the story primarily because the NHTSA has opened up an investigation. Here's a snippet from a report on MSNBC.com:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received at least 48 complaints of what it calls "inadvertent rollaway in reverse" involving 1995 through 1999 model Grand Cherokees, according to agency officials.
No deaths have been reported, but the incidents have led to 32 crashes and 14 injuries, according to reports to the agency. Most of the incidents allegedly occurred while the sport utility vehicles were idling with the gearshift in the "park" position.
NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said Wednesday that the investigation was opened late last Monday "because of an apparent problem with vehicles jumping out of park with or without the motors running."
Tyson confirmed that the agency had received complaints that included one incident involving a woman’s leg being crushed and another in which a motorist was pinned against a pickup truck.
While a recall has not been announced, the problem is apprently widespread enough to warrant an NHTSA investigation. Other major news outlets that are covering the story include:
Yahoo News (Reuters)
Yahoo News (Associated Press)
The Detriot News
Los Angeles Times
If you have any information regarding this problem or have experienced it yourself, please email us at jeepnews@OneToMany.com.
Here's DaimlerChrysler's official response to the NHTSA investigation:
Chrysler Group is fully cooperating with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the preliminary evaluation on 1995-1999 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The investigation is still in the early stages, where we are analyzing the data. The Chrysler Group is unaware of any problems with the Jeep Grand Cherokee that would cause this type of complaint.
In response to today's Los Angeles Times story on this matter, NHTSA has NOT expanded the investigation. The agency merely stated there have been additional complaints, which is not unusual with added publicity. As a normal course of this process, all information related to this investigation is being analyzed and shared with NHTSA.
The Chrysler Group instructs drivers to remove the key when leaving the vehicle which is a sure way to avoid inadvertent vehicle movement. This action assures the vehicle is in park since the key can only be removed in the park position.
The number of complaints has risen... From Yahoo! News:
Federal regulators now have 145 complaints about Jeep Grand Cherokees that lurch into reverse on their own, with about 40 injuries and at least one death linked to the vehicle, an official said Friday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler AG for more information about 1.3 million Grand Cherokees built between 1995 and 1999, agency spokesman Rae Tyson said Friday. The automaker has until Sept. 11 to respond.
NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation of the vehicle last month, when it had 48 complaints of Grand Cherokees shifting into reverse on the own after idling in park. The 145 complaints now include about 100 accidents blamed on the vehicle.
The Los Angeles Times said Friday it had found two other deaths linked to the vehicles that were not in the NHTSA complaints. In both cases, people were pinned by the vehicle after it was left unattended and idling in park.