Dodge Ram Ignition Problem Results in NHTSA Review After Child Death

Government safety officials are reviewing the safety of an estimated 110,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks, which may have problems with the clutch interlock switch that allows the vehicles to be started while in gear. The investigation was launched after several incidents, including the death of child.  

The Dodge Ram investigation (PDF) was launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on May 19, following at least two reports that suggest the pickup trucks were started while in gear, allowing the vehicles to roll forward.

One case involved a child who was killed after a Dodge Ram pickup was started by another child who was able to climb into the cab and start the ignition without depressing the clutch. Another report involved a man working under the hood of one of the pickup trucks who was knocked to the ground, but not injured.

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The clutch interlock switch on manual vehicles are designed to prevent the engine from cranking when the vehicle is started in gear. This feature prevents the vehicles from moving until the clutch is pressed and the vehicle is placed into the correct gear.

The NHTSA investigation is directed toward an estimated 110,000 2004 through 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups trucks with manual transmissions. The vehicles were manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC.

According to media reports, a Chrysler spokesman has indicated that the automaker will be working directly with the NHTSA to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety consequences associated with the potential defect to determine and narrow down the vehicles that may be effected.

Photo courtesy of IFCAR via Wikipedia Public Domain

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