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Over 1.25 million Ram pickups recalled for bad software code

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has announced a recall of 1.02 million Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks in the U.S. and 259,205 elsewhere. The reason? If an affected vehicle gets into a specific, rare type of collision, bad code could disable the side air bags and seatbelt pretensioners, making the crash much more dangerous.

The recall is being issued proactively after the automaker received reports of at least two collisions involving the defect -- one with injuries and another involving a fatality. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also received similar reports and has been investigating the issue since December, so it's not quite fair to call this voluntary.

The recall will begin in late June. The specific trucks being recalled include:

  • 2013-2016 Ram 1500s
  • 2013-2016 Ram 2500s
  • 2014-2016 Ram 3500s

If you own one of the affected pickups, you will be contacted by the manufacturer. You will then be encouraged to bring your pickup into the dealership for reprogramming. In the meantime, if you notice your seatbelt pretensioners (the part that tightens your seatbelt when you're in a crash) not working, you can resolve the problem temporarily by turning the vehicle on and off.

Recently, Fiat Chrysler has had somewhat of a poor record with NHTSA in terms of recalls. In July 2015, the company settled with NHTSA for $105 million after it mishandled recall campaigns for some 11 million vehicles. Later that year, it was fined $70 million when NHTSA discovered it hadn't turned in its mandatory reports of crash deaths and injuries since 2003.

It seems there are a growing number of recalls occurring that result from defective software. Last September, GM had to recall almost 4.3 million cars and trucks due to a similar defect affecting air bag deployment. If you believe you or a loved one has been injured because of a vehicle defect, we urge you to talk to an attorney.

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