Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles Affected by Hackers

We’re used to hearing that our computers can be hacked. Less commonly known is that our vehicles, too, can also apparently be hacked, thanks to the ever-expanding technology that aims to connect drivers to the outside world. Those dashboard computers and other software systems, unfortunately, also let the outside world in – and it may not always be with good intent.steering.jpg

The bug was uncovered by two security researchers and a reporter for, who agreed to be a test subject in a series of tests in which the hackers were able to access central vehicle functions such as steering, transmission and brakes while the vehicle was in motion.

Now, Fiat Chrysler has issued a 1.4 million product recall to install updated USB drive with a software update to close the hacking loophole.

In addition to all this, an agreement struck by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to resolve a series of previously-mishandled recalls resulted in the biggest ever package of fines and penalties. It also includes a requirement to undergo an independent monitor of safety programs, as well as a buy-back program of several hundred newer-model trucks.

Our Spartanburg auto injury lawyers know this is the latest in what has been a heavy-handed crackdown on the auto industry for recalls that were delayed, mishandled or outright refused.

Other safety lapses have included the defective ignition switch produced by General Motors for more than a decade, now linked to more than 120 deaths and thousands of injuries. Additionally, airbags produced by Japanese manufacturer Takata resulted in a recall of 40 million vehicles across the world.

Fiat Chyrsler, meanwhile, is accused of significantly downplaying or ignoring critical safety issues that posed a major threat to drivers, passengers and others who share the road.

A review by the NHTSA of 23 separate recalls by Fiat has been “unprecedented.” The company is accused not only of improperly delaying the recalls, but also in failing to make sure the repairs were actually carried out.

For example, when the company recalled thousands of its Jeeps in 2013 for concerns that rear-end collisions could result in dangerous fires, it did not initiate a comprehensive action to make sure customers knew of the problem and the need for repair. As of now, not even 20 percent of those vehicles have been fixed.

As a result of this and other safety lapses, the company has been ordered to pay $105 million in fines and penalties. They also initiated a trade-in incentive and a buy-back program in an effort to get dangerous vehicles off the road.

The trade-in incentive covers many of the 23 recalls initiated by the company, but the buyback program only covers three, which pertain to pickup trucks and some sport utility vehicle models with suspension issues that might lead to a sudden loss of steering control.

Company executives say they are studying steps taken by GM after their widespread safety problems were uncovered to determine what the next steps should be.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Fiat Chrysler Aims to Repair Broken Safety Program, July 29, 2015, By Paul A. Eisenstein, NBC News

More Blog Entries:
Report: Hackers Remotely Control Jeep on Busy Highway, July 22, 2015, Spartanburg Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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