Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, manufacturer of the Ram line of pickup trucks, has just issued a safety recall after a software error was blamed for at least two accidents, including one fatality. The recall will begin in late June, at which point owners can bring in their vehicles for reprogramming.
The affected vehicles include:
- 2013-2016 Ram 1500s
- 2013-2016 Ram 2500s
- 2014-2016 Ram 3500s
1.02 million of the recalled pickups were sold in the U.S.; 216,007 were sold in Canada; 21,668 in Mexico and 21,530 outside North America, for a total of 1,279,205.
The automaker insists that the chances of further accidents are very small, as a specific series of events needs to occur before the erroneous software code would be engaged. However, the consequences of the error could be very serious. If one of the affected trucks is struck on its undercarriage, such as during a rollover accident or while off-roading, the error could cause the side airbags and seatbelt pretensioners to be disabled. (The seatbelt pretensioner is what tightens the seatbelt during a crash).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received notice of a lawsuit in which the airbag in a 2014 Ram 1500 failed to deploy during a rollover crash. The agency has been investigating since December.
Fiat Chrysler has been under some pressure from NHTSA over the past few years. In July 2015, the company settled with the agency for $105 million after being accused of mishandling almost two dozen safety recalls in campaigns affecting 11 million cars and trucks. Later that year, NHTSA discovered that Fiat Chrysler had failed to report injuries and deaths from crashes of their vehicles since 2003. It was fined $70 million and had to enter a three-year consent decree, including monitoring.
If you are notified or suspect your vehicle may be defective, don't wait on NHTSA to discover the problem. Call an attorney at once to discuss your rights.