When motor vehicles do unexpected things, tragedies can happen. Rollaway accidents have injured or killed people of all ages. They have triggered other accidents after rolling into busy traffic, and have caused property damage. Worn parking gears in automatic transmissions may cause vehicles to slip out of park. In cars built before September 2010, automatic transmissions can be shifted out of park if the key is left in the ignition even though the engine is off and the your foot isn’t on the brake.
There are many situations in which injury or worse can occur. A driver leaves her car momentarily unattended while it’s idling in park and its worn transmission shifts into another position and sets the car in motion. A person places the key into the ignition to listen to the radio and accidentally bumps the gear selector causing the car to roll down a hill. Children left alone in a parked car with the keys in the ignition may also intentionally or unintentionally shift the gear selector. How injuries occur after a car starts moving on its own depends on the circumstances.
To prevent a vehicle rollaway car accident, follow these seven safety tips:
- Never leave children unattended in a car.
- Always engage your emergency brake when parking your car. Make this a habit.
- Never leave your car unattended with keys in the ignition or in the car.
- Lock the doors when leaving your car.
- When you park your car, always set the selector to “park.”
- Turn your engine off before leaving your car.
- When parked on hills, turn the wheels to minimize rolling distance. If there is a curb, turn the wheels into it.
Cars made after September 2010 have an interlock mechanism that prevents the transmission from being shifted out of park while the key is in the ignition and the engine is off. It’s called Brake Transmission Safety Interlock, or BTSI. However, defects may cause BTSI to fail. Always follow the above safety tips.
If another’s rollaway vehicle injured you or a loved one, please contact us to discuss your case.