Fiat Chrysler will begin sending final notices to customers affected by the recall of 1.1 million vehicles worldwide with confusing gear shifters tomorrow, the company said this week. The news comes on the heels of the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, who was crushed by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the models affected by the recall.
The notices concern a software update, which will “automatically shift the cars into park if the driver’s door opens while the engine is running,” the Associated Press reported. The car company began sending out the software updates to car dealers last week, which was prior to Yelchin’s death. However, car owners only receive final notices “when the service [the software update] becomes available,” the company said.
The rollout of the software update represents an acceleration in the recall timeline; the company said earlier that the update would be available "no later than July or August," Reuters reported. (The company says that the acceleration began in May.)
The software update affects most of the recalled cars, though an update for the remaining vehicles is "imminent". The recalled vehicles include 2012 through 2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, as well as 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The gear shifter had raised concerns because some drivers weren't clear whether their cars were in "drive" or "park". The confusion was connected to 41 reported injuries, many of which involved roll-away incidents.
Fiat Chrysler has stressed that it's unclear at this point what caused the crash involved in Yelchin's death, though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it was "the first fatality we're aware of that may be related to this safety defect and vehicle recall". The LAPD is still investigating, and Fiat Chrysler confirmed that it, too, was looking into the crash.