Vehicle Rollaway Accidents Increased in Some Cars with Keyless Ignitions

red car on road

A recent investigation found that some cars with keyless ignitions are at an increased risk of getting into a rollaway accident. These accidents occur when the driver isn’t in the car and can injure and kill people who happen to be in its path. 

One such instance occurred last month when a 2017 Range Rover HSE started moving backward after it was started in a parking lot. The vehicle rolled over its driver, killing her. The tragic incident was caught on video surveillance. Her family is now suing Land Rover. 

This type of rollaway accident happens when a car is in park or when a driver thinks the car is in park. It also happens with cars that have the newer rotary dial gear shifter. However, an investigation found that rollaway incidents occur in other makes and models of cars, as well, including those with traditional gear shifts in the center console. 

The NHTSA opened investigations into several makes and models of vehicles, including Fiat, Chrysler, Durango, and Ram models, as well as Jaguars and Land Rovers. 

The NHTSA warns that if a car is left on, the car can shift out of park, leading to a rollaway. Keyless ignition systems exacerbate the risk because drivers can exit the vehicle without their key fob. They may not even realize that they haven’t turned the car off. Currently, half of all newer vehicles in the U.S. are sold with keyless ignitions. 

How do rollaway accidents occur?

Typically, these accidents occur because the gear shift isn’t firmly placed into park. This makes it more likely to slip into reverse. The car can then roll away without the driver and cause serious injury to anyone in its path. This can even occur when the car is not running. 

Many of these accidents are caused by driver error. However, some are caused by improper manufacturing. Carmakers could prevent many of these rollaway accidents with a software adjustment. This software fix would essentially tell the car to brake or park whenever the driver’s door is open and the seatbelt disengaged. 

Some car manufacturers already have this software safety feature, but many do not. As such, safety experts are asking for federal legislation known as the Park It Act to require automakers to install these safety features in their vehicles. 

Prevent Serious Rollaway Accidents From Occurring

Until safety features catch up, there are four things you can do to prevent serious rollaway accidents from occurring. 

  1. If your car starts to roll, do not jump in it
  2. Double-check to ensure that your car is in park every time you stop the car
  3. Use an emergency brake as backup
  4. Turn off the engine every time you get out of the car

Every vehicle is at risk for rolling away when they’re in park. Always put your car in park and turn off the engine every time you intend to get out of the car. Even if it is just for a second, never leave your car running without you in it. 

Contact Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys

Greg Green of the Green Law Firm, P.C. sitting on a white porch while wearing a gray suit coatIf you or someone you love suffered an injury in a car accident in Colorado Springs, you need a law firm on your side that can help you make sense of the tragedy. Your time is better spent tending to your injuries and focused on your recovery. Let us handle the legal burdens for you. 

Contact the Green Law Firm, P.C. today by calling (719) 694-8515, or by filling out the contact form on this page, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your case.