Deaths due to exploding fuel tanks continue to escalate despite recalls and attempts by Chrysler to provide a remedy with the installation of trailer hitches.
(Press Release) – 11th February 2015 – According to reports, over 70 people have met a fiery grave that involved older Jeeps, including Fiat Chryslers, which have plastic fuel tanks mounted on the rear axle. Kayla White is one among the victims who lost her life when her red 2003 Jeep Liberty exploded in flames after it was rear ended by a Cadillac STS on a suburban Detroit freeway.

On that fateful Veterans Day, many drivers stopped to help the eight months pregnant 23 year old restaurant hostess. Unfortunately, burn injuries and smoke inhalation got the better of her.
Chrysler under pressure
Fiat Chrysler was under pressure from US safety regulators to investigate its jeeps. Around 1.56 million were recalled in June 2013. However, since then only as much as 12 percent of the SUVs have been repaired. According to Detroit MI accident attorneys, the driver of the Cadillac STS was charged with a traffic violation that caused a death.
However, many safety advocates and the attorney representing White’s family are of the opinion that Chrysler is to be blamed in addition to a lack of initiative by the auto-industry safety system. The rear mounted tanks in these Jeeps have nothing to protect them from damage if the vehicle is rear ended. It is incredible they never saw this coming?
A touch up job by Chrysler?
Rather than redesign the gas tank to be accommodated in front of the axle, Chrysler chose to install trailer hitches for extra protection. This was obviously in a bid to reduce costs; perhaps because they face high payroll costs due to unions. According to Detroit MI accident attorneys, government test results indicated that the trailer hitches were not effective in any high speed collision over 40mph.
The attorney for the White family said that prior to her death, Kayla White made an attempt to get the repair done. However, the Jeep dealership was not able to do so since the parts were not available. Chrysler also declined to comment, arguing that there was no evidence to prove she interacted with the dealer about the recall.
Non availability of parts
According to crash reconstruction experts, there was less likelihood of White’s SUV catching fire if the gas tank was fitted on the front of the rear axle. Suburban Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper said the Cadillac driver was not driving over 70mph.
One of the major concerns is that several Jeep owners have found it difficult to have their vehicles repaired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database, as many as 840 complaints have been received by the government from Jeep owners who have expressed their inability to have their gas tanks refitted due to non-availability of trailer hitches.
Chrysler sources say that usually 78 percent of recalls are attended to in 18 months. However, they claim that owners are often hard to trace since many of the vehicles are over two decades old. They are currently offering free oil changes and other gift cards on parts and accessories to attract the attention of drivers towards installing a hitch.
The NHTSA reportedly did not launch investigations into Jeep fires even though many incidents were reported in the 1990s. Following 75 fire related fatalities, the transport safety agency ordered a recall of around 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys dating back to 1993 and earlier. The attorney for the White family says they plan to file a lawsuit against Chrysler. Since the recall was announced, as many as six people have died, including White.
So these buyers did not know about this before the bought the jeep? It is vital that you should research a vehicle before you make the purchase.
If you have been injured as a result of a faulty product, most injury law firms such as The Law Firm of Raymond Arenofsky handle product liability suits and can give you all the legal advice you need to see if there is a valid claim against the manufacturer.

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