The heartbreaking death of a child has prompted Fiat Chrysler (formerly the Chrysler Group) to recall approximately 67,000 pickup trucks with manual transmissions, citing a problem with the clutch. In May, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into a fatal incident in which a child inadvertently started a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck without using the clutch. The truck moved forward, striking and killing another child.
NHTSA investigators found that a spring wire in the clutch ignition interlock switch can break in trucks with manual transmissions. This can result in a vehicle not starting or cause it to move unintentionally once the ignition key is turned. Models affected in the recall all are manual transmission pickup trucks from the 2006 and 2007 model years and were manufactured between July 1, 2005 and July 31, 2006. They include:
- Dodge Ram 1500 trucks
- Dodge Ram 2500 trucks
- Dodge Ram 3500 trucks
- Dodge Dakota trucks
- Mitsubishi Raider trucks
Fiat Chrysler will begin notifying registered owners of vehicles affected in the recall in February. Until then, the company stresses that drivers should follow recommended procedures for starting their vehicles. “These procedures include activating the vehicle’s parking brake, placing its shift lever in the neutral position and pressing the clutch pedal before turning the ignition key,” the company advised in a media release.
If you own or drive one of the recalled trucks and have suffered an injury or loss that you believe was caused by the defective clutch wire, get medical treatment and call a product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111. If you’ve suffered no injuries and will continue to drive your truck, take extra caution and be sure to stop by your nearest Fiat Chrysler dealership for a free-of-charge repair.