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The Potentially Fatal Dangers of Keyless Ignition Vehicles
Nowadays, many cars have a convenient technology – called keyless ignition – that is used to start the vehicle. Instead of inserting a physical key, the driver gets in their car with the key fob transmitter, pushes a button, and the vehicle starts. Although this allows for more efficiency, there are hidden dangers of keyless ignition that could lead to wrongful deaths.
Vehicles Left Idling Pose Risk of Injury or Death
Keyless ignition vehicles have been around for decades and have become increasingly popular over the years. However, many drivers are used to having a conventional key that they put in and take out of their car’s ignition to start and stop the engine. Motorists who upgrade to the new keyless system may be accustomed to traditional methods of operating their vehicles, and upon reaching their destinations, might forget to press the ignition button to turn off the cars, leaving the engine idling.
Forgetting to turn to car off can result in a build-up of carbon monoxide which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. According to a New York Times report, in just over a decade, keyless ignition accidents have led to around 36 deaths and dozens of injuries.
If a vehicle is left running in an enclosed space, such as a garage, carbon monoxide can build up. Unaware that this colorless, odorless gas is collecting in their home, individuals could suffer severe injury or death from poisoning.
In May of 2019, a Florida couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning after they forgot to shut off their Toyota Avalon, and it was left running in the garage attached to their home. The two were accomplished academics who were excited about their sensible vehicle purchase. Unfortunately, the sedan’s warning features were not adequate enough to alert them that the vehicle was still on.
Proposed Regulations and Legislation
Despite the National Traffic Safety Administration’s proposals to have automakers provide more adequate warnings or equip keyless ignition vehicles with automatic shutoffs, its recommendations have been rebuked by the industry.
To prevent keyless ignition hazards, lawmakers are now working to develop legislation that would impose various requirements on automakers. Some carmakers have shown their support for proposed regulations and have actively taken steps to increase the safety of their vehicles; others have said they will begin equipping keyless ignition vehicles with more adequate warning systems in the future but did not give a definitive date on when that would happen.
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