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What could have gone wrong with the jeep that killed actor Anton Yelchin?




TOLEDO, OH - MAY 7:  A 2014 Jeep Wrangler sits in front of a Jeep sign at the Chrysler Toledo North Assembly Plant where Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees are assembled May 7, 2014 in Toledo, Ohio. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it wants to turn Jeep into a global brand as part of an aggressive five-year plan. The automaker also plans on bringing back the Alfa Romeo to the U.S.  (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
TOLEDO, OH - MAY 7: A 2014 Jeep Wrangler sits in front of a Jeep sign at the Chrysler Toledo North Assembly Plant where Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees are assembled May 7, 2014 in Toledo, Ohio. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it wants to turn Jeep into a global brand as part of an aggressive five-year plan. The automaker also plans on bringing back the Alfa Romeo to the U.S. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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The investigation continues into the death of actor Anton Yelchin, known for his role as Chekov in the Star Trek movie reboot, but it appears that a problem with the gear shift in his SUV may have been a factor.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee was under recall, authorities said that early Sunday, the car rolled down his driveway, pinning the actor against the security gate at his home, leading to fatal injuries.

For more on what went wrong and the process of an auto recall, The Ride's Sue Carpenter joined the show to discuss.

Interview details

What do we know about what might have gone wrong with the car?

"The crash may have involved a problem with the gear shift which was recalled last month. According to the L.A. County Coroner's Office, it appeared that [Yelchin's] Jeep Grand Cherokee had not been properly put in park and Yelchin's Jeep used an automatic transmission and a type of shifter called an E-shift which operates electronically.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the E-shift may not adequately warn the driver when the driver's door is open and the vehicle is not in park. That allows the driver to exit the vehicle while it's still in gear...the consequence of that is that drivers who think their vehicle is still in park may be struck by the vehicle if they attempt to get out of it while the vehicle is running and the parking brake is not engaged."

What do we know about the recall so far?

"This defective E-shift system was used 0n 2014 and 2015 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees. Jeep has since changed the design in model year 2016 Grand Cherokees but I should say that this same shifter is used in a couple other cars so 2012-2014 Model year Chrysler 300's and Dodge Chargers equipped with 3.6 liter engines...on May 14,  vehicle owners of all of those cars were mailed notices and owners are supposed to receive a second notice when remedy parts are available."

Let's talk about the recall process for cars...

"I don't think most people realize how often recalls happen. I was on the NHTSA website today...there have been 76 recalls just in June so far...they're happening all the time.

Basically, the way that recalls even happen is the result of manufacturers reporting safety issues themselves or NHTSA receives safety complaints which was the case with the Jeep Grand Cherokee or they conduct their own safety investigations if a safety issue is found and a recall is issued then it's the vehicle manufacturer that notifies the registered user by sending a  letter in the mail and that is all that's required. If you're a more proactive registered vehicle owner you can sign up to receive recall notifications via email directly from NHTSA and anybody at any time can go to the website safercar.gov and type in their vehicle's identification number or VIN and see if there are any recalls affecting their vehicles, so that's how it works.  "

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.

This post has been updated.