NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Ram, Durango Roll Aways
Range Rover Evoque Also Affected
Electronic shifters are coming under the scrutiny of regulators once again, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening an investigation into reports of Ram 1500 trucks and Dodge Durango SUVs for complaints of roll-aways when placed in park. The trucks and SUVs are equipped with a rotary dial shifter that has no direct mechanical connection to the gear actuator but sends an electrical signal to an actuator that changes gears. Earlier this year, Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against a security gate when it rolled forward. Jeep subsequently changed the shifter design for the Grand Cherokee to have more defined gear selector detents than the previous self-centering toggle design.
The agency is also investigating the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF sedan for roll away complaints. Those vehicles have a similar rotary knob shifter design to the Ram and Durango. It has received reports of 24 crashes and 9 injuries on the Durango and Ram believed to be related to the shifter mechanism. The investigation could lead to a full-fledged recall if the vehicles are found to be unsafe. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is urging owners to set the parking brake when they park the vehicles as an added precaution.