Feds Probe 2009 Dodge Journey After Driver Trapped In Vehicle Dies In Tragic Fire

In December 2022, tragedy struck when the driver of a 2009 Dodge Journey died after being trapped in her vehicle when the electrical system malfunctioned and caused a fire

May 5, 2023 at 10:10

 Feds Probe 2009 Dodge Journey After Driver Trapped In Vehicle Dies In Tragic Fire

by Sebastien Bell

In response to a tragic accident that occurred in December 2022, federal regulators have opened a Preliminary Evaluation into the safety of the 2009 Dodge Journey. The incident involved the death of the driver, who was allegedly trapped in her vehicle while it was on fire caused by an electrical system malfunction. The evaluation will investigate whether there are any safety defects in the vehicle that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first became aware of the incident in January 2023. In its summary of information, it describes an event in which the driver of a Journey pulled over to the side of the road after the electrical system in her vehicle started going haywire.

According to a complaint filed with NHTSA, the driver reportedly experienced various electrical malfunctions before the vehicle caught fire. These included flashing warning lights, wipers turning on, and the horn honking. After pulling over, the door locks and windows reportedly became inoperative.

Read: NHTSA Is Investigating New Honda Civics With ‘Sticky’ Steering

That prevented the driver from exiting the Dodge Journey when a fire broke out in the engine compartment and eventually engulfed the entire car.

Although it’s unclear whether a production defect exists in the 2009 Dodge Journey, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has initiated a Preliminary Evaluation, which is the first step taken by the organization when a potential issue arises.

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The ODI will now review all existing information, submit an Information Request to the manufacturer, and conduct an in-depth analysis to determine whether there is an “unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”

Following the results of the Preliminary Investigation, the ODI may conduct an Engineering Analysis or a Special Crash Investigation. Based on the results of these actions, NHTSA may ultimately issue a recall request.

The current scope of its Preliminary Evaluation could affect up to an estimated 82,527 vehicles.

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