On Feb. 9, 2013, Chrysler recalled their new Ram ProMaster commercial van after it was found that the throttle could get stuck when force is applied to the pedal at an angle. The issue affects more than 9,600 ProMaster vans, the majority of which are in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, no accidents or injuries were reported as a result of the issue. The recall was voluntary as the defect was discovered while Chrysler was testing the vehicle; an internal investigation followed up on the findings. Chrysler will notify owners and ProMaster dealers of the issue and the accelerator pedal stopper will be replaced free of charge.
Although similar to previous unintended acceleration manufacturing issues, ProMaster vans are equipped with a brake-throttle override system. In the event that the throttle is stuck, pushing on the brake pedal will slow the vehicle down and lead it to a complete stop.
Car & Driver highlighted the Ram commercial van in an article by the tester who discovered that the gas pedal stuck. According to the article, the stuck throttle first appeared during normal acceleration testing in Michigan.
Acceleration testing procedures call for the pedal to be smashed firmly and rapidly to the floor; during one run it was found that the pedal stuck to the floor. Further analysis of the pedal after testing was completed revealed that even a simple side force, including one applied by hand, could cause the pedal to get stuck on a round plastic disc that served as a stopper on the carpeted floor. The tester examined two more vans and found the same issue.
Reported incidents of unintended acceleration date back to the late ‘80s when unintended acceleration in Audi 5000s led to more than 600 accidents, six of which were fatal. In 2009, Toyota recalled many popular models due to an intended acceleration issue; a billion dollar settlement is still in the works.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, contact The Eichholz Law Firm at (866) 947-7449 for more information on product liability claims.