Rotary Gear Shift
Rotary Dial Gear Shifter Suspected in Hundreds of Injuries in the U.S.
Recent technological advances have allowed major steps forward in the comforts consumers can enjoy in cars and trucks. Technology allows for comforts such as GPS navigation systems, blind spot automobile detection, radar technology assisting in parking and operating the vehicle in reverse, and even streaming movies while taking long trips. New designs, however, still must be properly vetted and engineered to ensure that the product enhancements do not come with deadly consequences. It is important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in the Fairhope, Alabama area if you suspect a faulty gear shifter has caused an unnecessary injury. The Alabama personal injury lawyers of Tobias, McCormick and Comer are proficient in identifying defective products and offer a free consultation of your case.
One recent development in the automobile industry is the use of a rotary dial that takes the place of a traditional gear shifter design that drivers are familiar with using. The traditional gear shifter requires the driver of an automobile to depress a button on the shift lever and move it into the desired gear position. Once the shifter is placed into the desired gear (such as “drive”), the gear is shown on the lever and on the dashboard.
Rotary dial shifters, on the other hand, are awkward and not as intuitive, often confusing drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued a recall for certain 2012 to 2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 vehicles, as well as a recall for certain 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee models due to the use of a rotary dial shifter known as the “monostable shifter.” NHTSA noted that drivers erroneously concluded “that their vehicle’s transmission is in the PARK position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged.” This is an event known as a “rollaway,” and it is a risk automakers have known is a persistent problem since the 1970s.
Unfortunately, rotary dial shifters have become more pervasive in the automobile industry and are the focus of defective product lawsuits against companies such as Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, which include a rotary dial shifter on multiple product lines, including the 2017 Range Rover SUV.
Range Rover, Land Rover, Jaguar, and other similar vehicles are common in our community, especially in Mobile, Fairhope, and the beach communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, yet many people do not know the dangers associated with rotary dial shifters. Although vehicles are manufactured out of state, and often out of the country, if they are sold or otherwise placed into the “stream of commerce” in the State of Alabama, they must be reasonably safe for consumers to use. All products, including automobiles, are subject to Alabama’s Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (“AEMLD”). The AEMLD requires products to be free from manufacturing defects and design defects. It also requires manufacturers to warn of dangers that cannot be eliminated from the product, and to instruct consumers on the proper and safe use of the product. Product manufacturers which place defective products into the stream of commerce in Alabama can be held strictly liable for all damages resulting to consumers using the product who are harmed or killed by the defective product.
The Fairhope, Alabama, personal injury lawyers of Tobias, McCormick and Comer have a combined 70 years of practice representing people who have been seriously injured or killed by defective products. If you, or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a defective product, please contact the firm today at 251-432-5001 to schedule a free consultation.