Both type of "Mis-shift" and "Park-to-Reverse" accidents have been known to automobile manufacturers for years.
This video clip of a police car being parked and the vehicle starting to roll away in reverse after a delay is a real life example of the defect. The accident was caught on tape by the police car's front camera
Simple Solution 1:
The second type of events, "park-to-reverse" events can, and have been addressed by nearly every manufactures by having a detent system that has enough centering force (provided by a spring) to make it impossible to place the vehicle between gears.
European and Asian car manufacturers have used designs with a stronger spring on nearly all of their vehicles for decades. Unfortunately, certain American manufacturers, in specific Ford and Chrysler, have used a much weaker detent spring, resulting in the possibility of a vehicle's shift selector being left inadvertently between Park and Reverse where it can then reengage Reverse after a delay. This defect, and the manufacturers' unwillingness to fix it, has resulted in hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths.
Simple Solution 2:
Both type of events are prevented by equipping a vehicle with an "out-of-park" alarm which sounds when a drivers attempts to exit the vehicle with the vehicle not in Park. First discussed in the late 70s at Ford, and placed on certain vehicles in the 80s, and then recommended by a Chrysler engineer in 1999 as a fix to park-to-reverse events, out-of-park alarms have been used by Chrysler and Ford on recently produced vehicles, and are also used by other manufacturers who do not have a false park defect on their vehicles.
However, despite the alarm being in essence cost-free (as it uses existing systems on the vehicles and only involves computer code to sound the alarm) and its ability to prevent many needless injuries and deaths, both Chrysler and Ford have failed to implement out-of-park alarms fleet wide, so as to address the many vehicles they have produced with the park-to-reverse defect.
A cost-free "Out-of-Park" alarm can effectively alert drivers of the "false park" situation