Lawsuit Claims FCA's Monostable Shifters Are Defective

Jeep Grand Cherokee monostable gear selector 5 photos
Photo: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Gearshift selector designs that have been criticized by Consumer ReportsGearshift selector designs that have been criticized by Consumer ReportsGearshift selector designs that have been criticized by Consumer ReportsGearshift selector designs that have been criticized by Consumer Reports
A 49-year-old client has sued Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from San Antonio, who sustained injuries after her vehicle rolled in her driveway after she allegedly placed it in the "Park" position.
The incident occurred on March 30, 2016, in front of her home. Sonya Dawson owned a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the same model as the late Anton Yelchin, and the 49-year-old left the car with the engine running after choosing the “Park” position on the monostable gear selector.

Unlike the actor, she figured out that the vehicle was rolling, and she tried to climb back into the SUV and stop it by pressing the brake pedal. The driver failed to get in her car while it was moving, and the vehicle rolled over her right foot with the left-front tire.

While the woman did not sustain any broken bones, the plaintiff was given a walking boot at the hospital. A month later after the incident, Ms. Dawson continued to experience pain, and a further medical examination diagnosed a torn ligament in her toe, which led to escalating suffering.

Her legal representative filed a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in June, and seeks compensation for the injuries sustained, as well as losses, along with punitive and statutory damages. If the case is decided for the plaintiff, FCA could meet the same verdict in the lawsuit filed by Yelchin’s parents.

The attorneys of the plaintiff say that ZF and FCA did not fit a safety override to prevent the driver from exiting the vehicle when it is not in the "Park" position, Detroit News reports.

Other automakers utilize safety overrides, and BMW was given as an example. The two automakers use different designs of the monostable gear selector from ZF, but BMW’s works differently.

The Italian-American corporation has previously advised its clients to follow the operating instructions in their owners’ manuals to ensure that the shifter is used as intended.

At this point, we should note that the “Park” position on most, if not all models with an automatic transmission, consists of a metallic pin that locks particular cogs in place. It is advised to use the parking brake to secure the automobile every time when the user wants to exit the car.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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