Today is the official start of the Labor Day weekend, and many of you will be driving to beaches, mountains, or one of America’s great gay meccas for some last-minute summer fun. (If you’re coming to New Orleans for Southern Decadence, be sure to say “hi”!)
Before you head out, though, please make sure that your car is in good working condition–that includes making sure all recalls have been addressed. We’re not just talking about the headline-grabbing recalls like those involving Takata’s fatally flawed airbag inflators or General Motors’ iffy ignitions. There’s a massive recall affecting older Jeeps, too, that stems from a deadly design detail:
A fatal accident this week involving a Jeep SUV has revived criticism from safety advocates that a federally sanctioned recall plan to keep the vehicle’s fuel tank from igniting in rear-end crashes didn’t go far enough to protect motorists.
Vicki Hill, 58, of Elyria, Ohio, died early Monday morning after her 2007 Jeep Liberty was rear-ended.
Hill’s Jeep Liberty was among more than 1 million sport utility vehicles that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV agreed to outfit with trailer hitches in 2013. The recall was announced after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that the fuel tanks, mounted between the rear suspension and the bumper of the vehicles, were vulnerable to leaks and fires in rear-end crashes.
It’s worth noting that Hill’s Jeep had been repaired. Unfortunately, the fix wasn’t that effective:
After Fiat Chrysler agreed to recall the Jeeps, NHTSA closed its investigation in November of 2014. It concluded in a memo at the time that the trailer hitch provided “incremental safety benefits in certain low and moderate speed crash incidents,” while also noting that the repair “will not necessarily be effective in the most severe crashes.”
If your ride is affected by a recall and it hasn’t been fixed yet (or even if it has, if you’re a Jeep owner), please have it repaired ASAP. We’d like to see you back here safe and sound on Tuesday.