False park refers to an event in which the transmission fails to shift into park despite the driver moving the gearshift into the “park” position. Also referred to as “park to reverse,” a false park event is often caused by transmission and/or gear shift defects that prevent the parking pawl from engaging.
When this happens, even just slight vibrations or the accumulation of hydraulic pressure in the transmission can cause it to reengage, powering the vehicle to:
- Unexpectedly move forward or backward
- Potentially inflict serious injuries on those trying to get of – or standing near – the vehicle.
The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm understand how devastating false park events can be – and how important it is to seek recovery and justice in the aftermath of these events. That is why we are dedicated to helping those injured in false park events:
- Build strong claims
- Hold negligent manufacturers (and/or others) accountable for the harm their defective equipment causes
- Help the injured seek the compensation and justice they deserve.
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What Can Cause a False Park Event?
Flaws in the design, manufacturing and/or installation of a transmission and related components can contribute to a false park event. Some examples of these flaws include:
- Poorly designed transmissions and/or detent systems – The detent system allows gears to be changed via a detent spring, a ball, teethed gears and other components. If the detent system has a “flat” area (between the Park and Reverse positions), it is more likely that a component of the system will rest in the flat area, causing the false park.
- Defective transmission components, like weak springs and broken rooster combs
- Deformed or weak transmission components, like malformed or weak plastic parts.
Please note that:
- False park events can occur anywhere from a few seconds to minutes after the driver believes (s)he has put the vehicle in park.
- Regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refer to false park events as “unintended power rollaway.”
- Vehicles of different makes and model have reportedly been involved in park-to-reverse events, including (but not limited to):
- Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokees1
- Jaguar’s Land Rovers2
- Ford’s Explorers, F Series Pick-Up Trucks and Crown Victoria vehicles.
The Dangers of False Park Events
False park events can have life-threatening outcomes because these events can cause vehicles to:
- Run over bystanders
- Pin bystanders to surrounding features (like a garage wall or another vehicle)
- Crush bystanders
- Roll into traffic while occupants are still in the vehicle.
Park-to-Reverse Events: Recalls & Deaths
Over the past few decades, various recalls have been issued for defective transmissions, gear shifters and other components that have contributed to harmful false park events. There have also been some fatal park-to-reverse events that have captured national attention. A couple more recent examples include:
- The April 2016 recall of about 1.1 million Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler 300 vehicles and Dodge Chargers
- The June 2016 death of Actor Anton Yelchin, when his Jeep Grand Cherokee ran him over during an alleged false park event.
To check if your vehicle is the subject of a recall related to a false park event, you can use this NHTSA tool.
If, however, you or a loved one has already been the victim of a false park or park-to-reverse event, an auto defect & false park lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm can help you pursue your best options for recovery and justice.
Experienced Advocates Are Ready to Help You: Contact a Houston Personal Injury Attorney at the Amaro Law Firm
A Houston personal injury attorney at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to provide you with exceptional representation, personal service and respect in the pursuit of compensation and justice.
1: NHTSA investigation into reports of false park events in Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles
2: NHTSA investigation into false park reports associated with Land Rovers