The Ford Motor Company has issued a recall on a model of truck because of a problem with the vehicles rolling away while parked. Ford announced that 53,000 F-250 trucks have a manufacturing defect which can cause the vehicle to roll away even though the gear selector is in the parked position. Although the company has issued the recall, the parts are not available to repair the manufacturing defect. Ford has asked its customers to engage the parking brake to prevent roll-away accidents during the delay. The company stated that it would fix the defect at no cost to the consumer. Despite the announcement, no accidents or injuries have been caused by the defect as of this time. Ford manufactured the defective trucks in 2015 in a Kentucky plant and were sold throughout North America.

This most recent recall is a reminder of the potential danger people face from roll-away accidents. Fiat Chrysler is defending a products liability claim after a 2015 Jeep Cherokee rolled out of a parked position and killed a 27-year-old actor. The Jeep rolled down a driveway, struck and pinned the actor against a wall. The actor died from his injuries. His parents brought a claim seeking damages for their son’s death.

To this point, Ford has been fortunate that no injuries or deaths have been reported from a roll-away crash. Owners of some Fiat Chrysler cars and SUVs have not been as lucky. Fiat Chrysler models Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, Chrysler 300, and Dodge Charger have been singled out by consumers as having caused 68 injuries, 266 crashes, and 308 reports of property damage. Fiat Chrysler has recalled approximately 1.1 million vehicles that were manufactured with a defective parking mechanism. The company reported that their vehicles might spontaneously roll away from a parked position after the driver exits the vehicle.

Fiat Chrysler has experienced manufacturing defects in other makes and models of cars as well. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating claims that the car maker’s Ram 1500 pick-up truck built in 2013-2016, as well as their Dodge Durango SUV, sold from 2014-2016 also have a roll-away problem. The NHTSA received complaints from owners of these vehicles regarding the dangers of the cars rolling away once parked. Owners cited these vehicles for causing 25 crashes and nine injuries from spontaneous rolling. The NHTSA has warned consumers of the risk and asked that they utilize the parking brake to stop the vehicle from rolling.

Putting a car or truck in “park” should signal to the consumer that the vehicle will not move. Consumers should be able to rely on that setting without worrying about whether they need to use the parking brake. Manufacturers can be held liable for manufacturing defects which cause injuries from their vehicles moving from a parked position.

Roll-away crashes can cause death, such as the accident that killed the young actor, or severe injury. The potential for a roll-away incident endangers the driver and passengers of the car in addition to unsuspecting people nearby. A victim could be pinned, rolled over, or crushed by a rolling car or SUV that weighs approximately two tons. There is no stopping the momentum of a rolling vehicle after it starts moving. Depending on the slope of the surface upon which the vehicle is parked, the car could pick up tremendous speed and will only stop after striking something.

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