NHTSA Opens Investigation into Jeep Recall After Airbag Deployments
Six Reported Inadvertent Deployments After Recall Fix Prompt Scrutiny
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is opening an investigation into 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty and 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee models after Chrysler had been notified of six incidents of inadvertent airbag deployment, even after the prescribed recall fix had been performed on the vehicles.
The original recall issued in November 2012 covered 174,723 units, and the fix at the time was the installation of an in-line jumper harness to the airbag circuits to prevent the electrical spikes that were believed to be responsible for the inadvertent deployments. The original recall was the result of 215 reports of inadvertent airbag deployments, resulting in 81 minor injuries.
However, that recall paled in comparison to the massive 2.7 million unit recall involving the 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty in which NHTSA cited the vehicles for their allegedly unsafe fuel tank location and requested that Chrysler install a rear guard or crossmember to protect the fuel tanks from rupturing in a severe rear-end collision. In a rare act of defiance toward the federal agency, Chrysler publicly protested NHTSA's request and countered that the vehicles met all applicable federal safety standards when built. The company ultimately agreed to the agency's request and installed redesigned a rear hitch subframe to the affected models, effectively creating a structural guard protecting the fuel tank. Despite agreeing to fix the affected models, Chrysler said it stood by the safety of its vehicles.