Human Cost: U.S. probes complaint following death of woman trapped in a burning Dodge Journey

Michigan, United States — U.S. safety regulators are conducting an investigation into potential electrical problems in Dodge Journey SUVs, after a woman was trapped and died when her vehicle caught fire in December.

This may be related to inoperative door locks and windows that may prevent escape during emergencies, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and may affect 82,000 Journeys from model year 2009 onward.

Investigation documents indicate that the fire may have started in the engine, causing warning lights to flash and honking, windows not going down, and doors that failed to unlock.

Previously in 2009, 17,000 Journeys were recalled by Chrysler due to unused electrical connectors which could corrode and short circuit.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety said that escape can be difficult because of plastic lamination making the windows difficult to shatter, a design feature that has helped prevent people from being thrown out of cars during a crash.

While he suggests keeping a metal tool to shatter tempered glass, he also says there needs to be a standardized way to unlock doors or escape


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