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What Are Brake Shift Interlock Failures & Why Are They Dangerous?

Drivers face the startling scenario of discovering that their vehicle has shifted gears and begun to roll away in reverse, despite having previously put the vehicle into park. Brake shift interlock failures are to blame for incidences like these, which lead to countless car accidents. The brake shift interlock is a crucial safety feature which ensures that the vehicle will not be shifted out of park without first having the brake pedal depressed; this keeps the vehicle from being accidentally shifted into reverse or drive by an errant driver or passenger, including children who may successfully move the transmission lever during play.

Minivan Threats

Minivans in particular benefit from the brake shift system, as they are typically designed for families and provide ample space between the front and back seats, granting passengers a wide range of access to parts of the vehicle. In minivans, the brake shift interlock device is separate from all other systems in the vehicle. Several different types of interlock variations have been developed by various car companies, including a brake shift interlock, a brake transmission interlock and a starter ignition interlock.

Brake Interlock Systems

Brake shift interlocks automatically apply the brakes if no one is in the driver’s seat. This prevents the gear shift from swinging unless the brake is applied and also prevents the shift lever from being moved out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed and the accelerator is in idle position. Not all car models include an interlock system; however, the estimated cost and labor time for the addition of an interlock system is minimal. Roll-away accidents can be prevented by implementing this simple, easy solution, ensuring that the lives of children who might have been injured during a vehicle roll-away or run over by a roll-away vehicle are safeguarded.

Causes of Brake Shifts

Brake shift interlock failure is most commonly caused by problems in the trailer plug or a shorted-out stop lamp bulb. Stop lamps should be checked to make sure they are operational before driving your car. Gear shift accidents are usually due to children who have accidentally moved the vehicle into gear, a circumstance in which a brake shift interlock could have easily prevented. Most children will not simultaneously engage the brake as they shift gears.

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