(Posted Monday 11-20-00) On Friday 10-6-2000 I was on my way to work in my 1991 Dodge Dakota truck. The day was just like any other as I drove into Glendale, CA. I exited the 2 Freeway and head toward my destination which was about half a mile of the highway. I pulled up outside my workplace and began reversing into a driveway. Suddenly there was a loud bang, just like I'd hit something. Instantly stopping I looked into my mirror to see a man standing behind me. He'd been watching me as I drove back and now stood there holding up his hand, gesturing that I stay where I was.
Getting out, I saw to my amazement that the spare wheel that is usually situated under the back of the truck had simply fallen off. The gentleman whose name was Guy, was in as much shock as I was over the scene. Upon further inspection we observed that the thin cable that holds the wheel in place had sheered, thus dropping this heavy load to the cement below. "Shit" I said to my new friend, "can you imagine if that had happened only one minute beforehand on that busy freeway doing 65mph?" He said, "you know what, in all my years of driving I've never seen anything like that before, that is very frightening!" I was still in shock at how fortunate I'd been, or how lucky others were, whichever way you look at it. Traveling at 65mph the last thing that you want to happen is the vehicle in front of you simply dumping a wheel and tire in front of your path. Either hitting such an item or swerving to avoid it could and more than likely would cause a very serious accident or series of accidents.
As the day went on I told more and more people about what had happened. They all looked at the broken cable and every one of them said that I should get in touch with Dodge over the matter, it was outrageous.
A few days later I called a Dodge dealership in Pasadena CA. (Pasadena Chrysler Plymouth, inc). Jacque sounded very concerned over the phone and asked me to come in the following morning.
Although awkward as my wife had to follow me to the dealership, leave the truck outside, I had to take her to work in her car, then drive her car back and of course somehow get her car back to her and pick up my truck, it was stressful to say the least. But I did as they had asked and arrived at 08.15am. I stood and waited for a few minutes as they took my truck and drove it away. After answering a few questions I was told that I'd get a call later that day. Instinct told me to ask who was paying for this, as I looked at this as a major and dangerous to say the least, design flaw. Almost bewildered the manager looked at me and said I was. "Forget it" I said, "this is clearly a design flaw and needs to be bought to Dodge's attention before a fatality happens." To be honest I didn't think they really cared what I had to say. To me it seemed that the reality of the danger involved here hadn't kind of sunk in to these people. I asked for my truck, I drove off in disgust. (Don't get me wrong, I did get a letter from this company within a day or two showing there concerns, but to me it seemed like a letter that had been mass typed and went out to every customer that came in. My name wasn't even on the letter itself?)
Later that afternoon I called up the Dodge Headquarters and after requesting that I not be wiretapped on their recorded phone calls, an Eric Jensen took down my information. He said that no one else had ever filed a complaint such as this one, and as far as he knew there was no recall on this. I was appalled! To me this was as dangerous as a tire blowing out. At least with that, you have some control over your vehicle. With this situation, you might not even be aware that you've just unloaded a deadly mass from the back of your vehicle onto and into the direct path of the car behind you.
I'm not a pessimist and don't wish for a second any kind of fatal accident on an American freeway, but I've foreseen a very dangerous design flaw here and have attempted to bring this to the attention of the makers of this vehicle. As I write this I think about the hundreds or thousands of vehicles that are on the freeways of America at any given moment. At some point and it's inevitable, this IS going to happen again and God forbid that someone doesn't get hurt. But when people start dying through accidents caused by this poor design, will the makers of this truck wake up and do something then? Once that cable breaks there is nothing to hold that wheel in place, it simply falls and from that point on it's all down to who is near it and who can avoid it.
I'm appalled by this situation. If you have any similar stories please feel free to contact me as I'm very concerned over this. I'd feel better in knowing that I'm not alone in this.
I thank you for your reading, regards, Johnny Anderson.
I'm sorry but I personally feel that the above situation is wrong. If you agree, disagree or have stories of your own I'd love to hear from you.
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