What’s Wrong with the Airbags and Seatbelts in Fiat Chrysler’s Cars?

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According to The Wall Street Journal, there have been at least five injuries and three deaths linked to possibly defective airbags and seatbelts in Fiat Chrysler vehicles. This has led to Fiat Chrysler issuing a worldwide recall that includes 1.9 million automobiles.

What’s the Problem with the Airbags and Seatbelts in Fiats?

The report in The Wall Street Journal cites issues involving the front impact sensors and restraint control modules in certain Fiat Chrysler vehicles. The defect can lead to the airbags and seatbelt restraints not activating during an auto accident. Fiat Chrysler found out about the problem with the airbags and seatbelts after it analyzed data from crashes involving the defect. Reportedly, the airbags and seatbelts only fail to react in accidents involving frontal collisions. If the vehicles are hit on the side or rear, the seatbelts and airbags seem to work properly.

Fiat Chrysler vehicles involved in the recall include:

  • 2010-2014 Dodge Avenger
  • 2010 Chrysler Sebring
  • 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber
  • 2011-2014 Chrysler 200
  • 2010-2014 Jeep Compass
  • 2010-2014 Jeep Patriot

Fiat Chrysler says that it had already stopped installing the restraint control modules and front impact sensors in question in its vehicles prior to discovering this issue. At the time this report was written, Fiat Chrysler had not yet announced when it would begin repairing the recalled vehicles. This isn’t Fiat Chrysler’s first run-in with auto defect issues. In 2015, the automaker was fined for lapses in recalling millions of vehicles. The recall lapse included older model Jeeps with rear gas tanks that were catching fire during rear-end collisions.