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Fuel Tanks, Leaks Pose Risk of Fires and Explosions: Spark Recall

Auto defects can create serious hazards for drivers, passengers, and other motorists on the road. When a significant number of accident reports indicate the faulty manufacturing of a vehicle is the cause of injury, the government may intervene to prevent future accidents or injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to demand a recall when a common design flaw continues to cause accidents and injury.

As a consumer, you have the right to expect that the automobile you purchase is safe for use. You also have the right to pursue legal action against a negligent manufacturer, distributor, or other entity responsible for injuries or wrongful death. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are experienced in handling complex claims, including those against negligent manufacturers.

This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made a request to recall 2.7 million SUVs after evidence suggests that the pose a serious fire hazard. According to the Center for Auto Safety, a public interest group, there have been 201 fire crashes and 285 deaths involving the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Additionally, there were 36 accidents and 53 deaths involving Libertys.

According to the NHTSA, the tank design used in Jeep Grand Cherokees and the Jeep Liberty are unsafe. Usually when the agency requests a recall, an automobile manufacturer will comply; however, in this case, Chrysler has challenged the request and denied the recall.

The gas tank design is placed behind the rear axle of the SUV, which, according to Chrysler is a common design in other vehicles. The automaker also alleges that the fatalities involving fiery gas tanks occurred during high-speed accidents where a different design would not have prevented an explosion. Chrysler also contends that the NHTSA’s conclusions are based on an “incomplete analysis.” Chrysler has made additional public statements that the cited accident figures are overstated.

Though Chrysler has the right to dispute the allegations and challenge the recall, the NHTSA wants consumers to have knowledge of the defect and to take appropriate action. The NHTSA has also urged Chrysler to acknowledge the potential dangers of the vehicles and to protect customers.

In 1996, Chrysler also challenged the request to recall cars because of faulty seat belts. In that case, Chrysler won in a federal court case that challenged the agency decision. Though challenging the recall of the Jeep Cherokee and Liberty vehicles, Chrysler has agreed to work with the agency to resolve the dispute. The automaker has also purported that a new design on Cherokee and Liberty gas tanks does not create the same hazard of fire or explosion.

Additional defective vehicles on the market may also pose a fire risk to consumers. Ford Motor is recalling 465,000 of a current model Ford Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Interceptor Utility, Interceptor Sedan and other models because of a fuel leak that poses a fire risk.

A fire or explosion during a motor vehicle accident can result in catastrophic injuries, including burns, loss of limb, or fatality. To prevent more deaths caused by negligent design, government agencies, consumer groups, as well as individual consumers must collaborate to raise awareness.

If you or someone you love has been injured, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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