The US safety regulators from the NHTSA have opened a probe – the first step towards a recall – into around 110,000 heavy-duty Chrysler Group Ram pickup trucks.
The older trucks are equipped with manual transmissions and are now under investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration experts because of reports from customers saying the car can start while the clutch is not engaged.
The preliminary investigation concerns Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups with model years 2004-06, and was started after just three reports – but following the fact that one involved the loss of one life, with the defect described as possibly having a problem with the clutch interlock switch failsafe.
According to documents, a preliminary investigation is the first necessary step for a process that could ultimately lead to a recall, if the NHTSA regulators conclude the automaker is having a safety problem. According to a Chrysler spokesman, the automaker is aware of the situation and is currently cooperating with the NHTSA investigators.
The incident involving the death had one young child that entered a car able to start the car without the clutch depressed, according to the NHTSA filing, with the truck rolling out and hitting and killing another child.