A Recall That Wasn’t

This child burned to death while strapped in her car seat in her parents' Jeep Grand Cherokee.

This child burned to death while strapped in her car seat in her parents’ Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with a trailer hitch. The trailer hitch bent up under the tank effectively acting as a spear into the tank.

After a huge public outcry in support of a recall of fire-prone Jeeps, including more than 128,000 people who signed Jenelle Embrey’s petition, NHTSA made a request to Chrysler asking them to do a voluntary recall to stop the deaths. Chrysler defiantly refused NHTSA’s request in an unprecedented disrespectful public statement backed up with a “white paper” of tainted statistics. Chrysler did not expect the public’s outrage at their callousness towards innocent people burning to death in Dangerous Jeeps. Subsequently, a secret meeting was arranged at a Chicago airport between NHTSA and Chrysler heads. After the meeting, Chrysler announced their intent to do a voluntary  safety inspection of some of the Jeeps and install a trailer hitch on some of those. NHTSA was in complete agreement. In NHTSA news, the Administrator announced his resignation at NHTSA to go to work for a Chrysler-lobbying law firm. On the Administrator’s last day at NHTSA, along with his goodbyes, he casually mentioned the NHTSA investigation of Chrysler’s fatal Jeep-fire investigation officially being closed.

When the NHTSA recall agreement was first announced, Jenelle scheduled a meeting with the NHTSA administrator and invited several reputable safety experts. The agenda was primarily to express concerns of the untested remedy “volunteered” by Chrysler. Jenelle worries that Chrysler’s only purpose of the announcement was to get the spotlight off of the problem and then have the problem forgotten as the public’s attention goes onto the next headline. Former NHTSA Administrator, Joan Claybrook, who handled the Ford Pinto recall flawlessly, came as one of Jenelle’s guests to the important meeting at US DOT. She explained to the current Administrator exactly how to prove, or disprove, the effectiveness of Chrysler’s proposed remedy of a trailer hitch. NHTSA must require public crash testing with the media present. She literally begged the Administrator to save lives by requiring crash tests of Chrysler’s proposed remedy. Unfortunately, none of us safety advocates were yet aware of the secret deal that had already been sealed in the meeting between NHTSA and Chrysler on June 9th. A statement by Jenelle Embrey…

After over four years of delays, I was glad that Chrysler was called into the hot seat by NHTSA to do the right thing. Unfortunately, on the very last day of NHTSA Administrator’s departure to a Chrysler-lobbying law firm, he simultaneously announced the closing of the jeep-fire investigation. Was his departure from NHTSA to start working with a Chrysler-connected law firm and retraction of the recall request to Chrysler, both on the same day, coincidental or a crucial part of the secret “recall” deal?

I’m going to continue to inform consumers that the trailer hitch was designed to hitch trailers. A trailer hitch’s effectiveness in protecting a fuel tank erroneously placed in a crush zone has never been tested. People need to know that victims survive horrendous high-speed accidents only to burn to death in their Dangerous Jeeps following the accident. I hope to inform people of the facade Chrysler continues to orchestrate. I will continue my mission until innocent people stop burning to death in Dangerous Jeeps.


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