Several lawsuits have now been brought against Jaguar for their Range Rover/Land Rover models that utilize a rotary gear shifting knob. While some of these complaints have been lodged after someone was severely injured, at least one death has now been linked to these vehicles.
Unfortunately, Jaguar and every other auto manufacturer have been aware of the issues surrounding rotary gear shifts for years now. While some manufacturers have made changes or ordered recalls to affected vehicles, Jaguar has still not publicized the dangers that their vehicles may pose. The lawyers at McEldrew Purtell are available to speak to you if you or your loved one were injured because a vehicle with a rotary gear shift rolled away, and can help you determine if you have a case.
What Is a Rotary Gear Shift?
Automatic transmissions are nothing new, and for decades drivers have used a lever on the car’s console or steering column to shift gears. Starting in the early 2000’s, car manufacturers began to move steadily towards using more electronic transmission controls, such as knobs, toggles, or push buttons. These knobs and buttons give the car a more high-tech feel, but maybe surprising and unintuitive to a driver who is not accustomed to them.
A rotary gear shift uses a dial to change gears. It is unfortunately not always clear when using these types of dials that a car is in neutral, in gear, or in park, leading to the potential for rollaways when the driver exits the car.
How Dangerous Are Rotary Gear Shifters?
New and updated gear shifters are themselves not a problem – they can actually make driving a more streamlined process. But when a gear shifter is poorly designed, making it confusing or difficult to use, drivers can easily make mistakes.
Consumer Reports has decided to deduct points from the overall score for any vehicle that has:
- A shifter that has the potential to be confusing or difficult to operate, such as a rotary gear shifter
- Any shifter that could be confused with other controls in the car
- Any vehicle does not have an automatic return to park function
- Vehicles that do not engage the parking brake when the engine is shut off
Some vehicle manufacturers have now added safeguards to prevent rollaways from happening because of confusing gear shifters, but many cars have needed to be recalled in order to correct these issues. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had to recall 1.1 million vehicles after 41 people reported injuries in 2016, and Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was tragically killed that year when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled into him.
Lawsuits Against Jaguar Range Rovers/Land Rovers
The current lawsuit states that:
- The gear selector on the Land Rover has an unfamiliar and unintuitive movement and provides poor visual and tactile feedback to drivers. This increases the potential risk that the driver may make an unintentional gear selection, leading to a vehicle rollaway
- That drivers can exit a Land Rover while the engine is running and the transmission is not in park, which can result in a rollaway
Over 513 rollway incidents from Jaguar Range Rovers with dial gear shifters have been reported, and the current lawsuit alleges that the company has failed to make this information available to the public. Documents have been unearthed that show Jaguar was aware of hundreds of rollaways linked to these gear shifters, potentially as early as 2017, and has to date not issued a recall on any of these vehicles.
When to Contact a Lawyer About a Range Rover or Land Rover Rollaway Accident
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has made investigations into these accidents previously, stating that drivers are easily confused by rotary dial shifters, but because there is no mechanical or electronic issue with the dial, they would not issue a recall order. Yet Jaguar has been aware of these issues for years and has not issued warnings or notices to any of its consumers.
If you or a loved one were injured due to a rollaway caused by a confusing rotary dial gear shifter, you deserve to be properly compensated for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the accident. Contact the lawyers at McEldrew Purtell today for your free consultation to discuss your case. You can reach us by filling out our form, or by calling us directly at (215) 545-8800.