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Fiat recalls over a million pickup trucks after crashes, fatality

As more and more of the functions of our vehicles are controlled by software, vehicle recalls increasingly involve software errors rather than the defect or malfunction of a part. That's the case with a recently-announced recall by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of over a million of its Ram pickup trucks.

The software error could impact a vehicle's side air bag deployment as well as the pretensioners that tighten seat belts during an impact.

According to FCA, it first began investigating an issue with its software after a lawsuit late last year involving airbags that failed to deploy during a rollover crash. The recall comes after two crashes -- one of which killed a person.

The automaker says that it doesn't have proof at this point that the software error was responsible for that fatality or played any role in the crashes. Nonetheless, it is asking owners to bring their trucks in for reprogramming.

The recall, which is scheduled to start in late June, involves Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups with model years 2013 to 2016 as well as Ram 3500 pickups with model years 2014 to 2016. Most of those are in the U.S. The remainder are in Canada, Mexico and other countries.

Even though automakers are generally becoming more proactive about addressing problems with their vehicles, too often they don't learn about those problems until someone has been injured or even killed. That's why it's essential to seek legal guidance if you believe that your injuries or the death of a loved one was caused by a vehicle defect or malfunction. In addition to seeking justice, you could be saving the lives of others.

Source: Reuters, "Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.25 million trucks over software error," David Shepardson and Nick Carey, May 12, 2017

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