Parked Vehicle Rolls Down Driveway, Killing Owner

A woman died in Palm Desert Monday night after her parked vehicle rolled backward and struck her. The incident occurred around 7 p.m. on Sondgroth Court in south Palm Desert.

Police say the silver Toyota was unoccupied when it rolled down the woman’s driveway. The vehicle struck the 68-year-old woman, who has not yet been identified. She died at the scene from her injuries.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is investigating the incident. Anyone with information should contact the CHP.

Why do Parked Cars Roll Backward?

In an automatic vehicle, the “parking pawl” is engaged when you shift your vehicle into “park.” The parking pawl is a device in that restricts the transmission’s output shaft from turning while the vehicle is in park, therefore keeping the vehicle from moving. While unlikely, it is possible for this device to break or dislodge. If that happens, your parked vehicle could roll backward.

In other cases, a manufacturer defect could lead to a parked vehicle rolling backward. This was true of 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Fiat Chrysler recalled these vehicles after multiple rollaway incidents were reported. However, the problem with these vehicles was actually a defective gear selector that led to drivers selecting the wrong gear. Actor Anton Yelchin died after his Jeep rolled backward in his driveway and struck him.

Can you Prevent your Parked Vehicle from Rolling?

Engaging your vehicle’s parking brake (emergency brake) will help prevent your vehicle from rolling away. The parking brake is a manual system that surpasses your vehicle’s hydraulic braking system. This makes it crucial in an emergency braking situation, but also very useful for keeping your vehicle in park. Using your parking brake provides your vehicle with extra stability to keep it from rolling due to a defect or other interferences.

“Our condolences go out to the victim’s family. Always use your vehicle’s parking brake, especially when parking your vehicle on a hill, to prevent a rollaway accident,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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