Rollaway Accidents Are a Continuing Concern in Washington D.C.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rollaway accidents cause nearly 2000 injuries and 150 deaths every year in the United States. Families are taking to Washington D.C. to address the growing concern of rollaway accidents. Rollaway accidents occur when a vehicle moves without a driver controlling the vehicle. Many newer vehicles are equipped with a brake transmission safety interlock (BTSI). This system prevents a vehicle from shifting from park to drive unless the engine is on and a foot is on the brake. Before this technology, vehicles could shift gears when the car was off, and there was no foot on the brake.

Safety officials mandated this system after several rollaway accidents. The federal guidelines mandate that all cars manufactured after 2010 must have this equipment.
Despite the new technology, these rollaway accidents continue to occur in Washington D.C. The leading cause of rollaway accidents involves:

  • Worn transmissions,
  • Defective pins in the BTSI system,
  • Design flaws, and
  • Unattended children in parked vehicles.

While the BTSI may prevent certain rollaway accidents, motorists should take specific safety steps to avoid these incidents. Steps include:

  • Turning engines off before leaving a vehicle,
  • Leaving a car in park when parking,
  • Using the emergency brake,
  • Never leave children unattended in a car, and
  • Locking a door when leaving a vehicle.

A family recently described a harrowing incident involving a rollaway accident that took the life of their loved one. A woman was loading her vehicle’s trunk when her husband left the driver’s seat to help her with the trunk. As the husband left the vehicle, the car rolled back and ran over the woman. The couple’s daughters came to learn that these types of accidents are not as uncommon as they believed. While many manufacturers blame drivers for these accidents, safety experts believe that driver error is a “symptom, not a cause” of these incidents.

Another man recently described an incident where he believed that he put his car in park when he got out of his car to help his wife. Within seconds the car rolled down and pinned the man against a brick wall. The man suffered severe injuries that required multiple surgeries and a post-wound vacuum.

What Is Being Done to Make Vehicles Safer?

Safety experts urge manufacturers to reevaluate their safety systems. Congress is reviewing legislation that would require vehicle manufacturers to install technology to prevent rollaway accidents, such as automatic engine shutoffs. Advocates believe that vehicles should automatically shift to park if an occupant exits the vehicle.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Rollaway Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries because of the negligence of another, contact the Washington D.C. attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. Our law firm’s Washington D.C. car accident attorneys understand the devastating toll an accident can have on a person and our loved ones. We dedicate our practice to ensuring that injury victims recover the compensation that the law entitles them. In addition to car accidents, we handle Washington D.C products liability, premises liability, and medical malpractice claims. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.


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