DETROIT -- Federal safety regulators have upgraded a probe into a possible defect on nearly 183,000 pickups from the Chrysler group that could cause the vehicle to roll backward when the driver attempts to park it.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a preliminary evaluation of the problem had been escalated to the status of an "engineering analysis," a move that often precedes a safety recall.
Vehicles affected by the possible defect are 2003 and 2004 model-year Dodge Ram 2500 and Dodge Ram 3500 pickup trucks with automatic transmissions, NHTSA said.
The agency said 42 crashes and three injuries have been linked to the problem and consumers had made a total of 50 complaints about it.
The vehicle might roll backward when the driver attempts to shift the gear into the "park" position with the key still in the ignition and the engine running, NHTSA said.