The U.S. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation into 110,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks after the death of a child. The investigation will focus on an alleged faulty interlock safety switch.
The investigation includes 2004 to 2006 models. The agency named three complaints of engines starting without the clutch being engaged. A child was run over by a truck driven by another child who drove the pickup even with an interlock safety switch in the “On” position. In another case, an engine started up while a mechanic was working under its hood. The truck hit the worker but caused no serious harm.
“The clutch interlock safety switch had not been tampered with and was in its original condition,” the truck owner wrote in the fatal accident complaint, quoted by the Associated Press. “The switch has been tested and found to be defective.”
The agency did not reveal the names of the complainants who filed the cases on Feb. 26. The incidents happened in August, 2013. A recall, if proven that the interlock mechanisms of the vehicles were defective, will be the next step.
Chrysler, the manufacturer of Ram pickup truck, expressed willingness to help with the investigation.
“Chrysler Group vehicles meet or exceed all applicable safety mandates,” the company in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “Customers who have concerns about the way their vehicles are currently performing should contact their dealers. As with any vehicle, do not leave it unattended with the key in the ignition and follow correct operating procedures.”
Faulty keyed ignition switch had been a subject for recalls for other carmakers and affected 21 million vehicles including more than 8.8 million from Ford, 5.5 million from GM, 3.5 million from Honda, and 1.6 million from Chrysler.
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