NHTSA May Reopen Investigation Into Jeep Fires

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Nearly 3 million older Jeeps may be coming under NHTSA’s microscope once again. The federal agency could reopen an investigation into these vehicles because there have been dozens of gas-tank fires following rear-end crashes.

The initial investigation into this issue was opened back in 2010 and closed last year but it’s reportedly still an issue. NHTSA’s administrator, Mark Rosekind said they’re exploring every appropriate action they can take to remedy this potentially deadly situation.

Last week a jury in Georgia awarded one family $150 million when their 4-year-old was killed in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was found responsible for the damages. According to the jury the company acted with “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” in the way the Jeep had been designed.

SEE ALSO: Chrysler Speeds Up Jeep Recall Repairs

Following the initial investigation NHTSA found that these vehicles are not unreasonably dangerous. In fact the ’99 Grand Cherokee has a lower incidence rate than 57 other vehicles from its era.

To remedy potential fire issues Fiat Chrysler recalled nearly 1.6 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs in June of 2013 to install a special hitch that protects the fuel tank. Right now dealers have more than 59,000 of these components on shelves waiting for customers. So far nearly 388,000 Jeeps have been processed.

Discuss this story on our Jeep Forum.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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