Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Keyless cars linked to at least 28 carbon monoxide deaths

Keyless cars linked to at least 28 carbon monoxide deaths

The problem, industry experts say, is that when using a button instead of a key to turn off the engine, some drivers-especially those with quieter models-simply forget that the vehicle is still running when they exit.

His father, Fred, was among at least 28 people identified by the New York Times as having died from carbon monoxide poisoning after accidentally leaving their keyless-ignition vehicle running in a garage.

The National Highway Safety Administration recommends reading your car's manual for more information about the key fob for your keyless ignition works, never getting out of the Vehicle while it is running and taking the key fob with you every time you leave your auto.

The Society of Automotive Engineers has called for automakers to install safety features, like beeps, to warn drivers if their vehicles are still running.

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Keyless ignitions are now standard in over half of the 17 million new vehicles sold annually in the United States, according to the auto information website Edmunds. The vehicle company says its keyless ignition system "meets or exceeds all relevant federal safety standards". If the key fob is close enough to the vehicle, the driver will be able to start it. But many older vehicles have not been retrofitted to reduce the hazard. But the safety agency has found shortcomings and inconsistencies by carmakers in meeting those rules. "And the manufacturers will continue to settle cases".

According to The Times, there have been at least 28 deaths and 45 injuries caused by carbon monoxide emitted from vehicles with keyless ignitions since 2006. If the engine automatically shuts off, the alerts are not necessary. If this happens for an extended period of time, they could eventually succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, a number of automakers aren't following suit even though estimates suggest adding new safety features would cost less than $500,000 a year.

Toyota told the outlet its keyless ignition product "meets or exceeds all relevant federal safety standards". But, the agency has postponed adoption of the keyless ignition regulation three times, and in the meantime at least 21 people have died. Then, in 2013, the NHTSA launched a probe into seven automakers to find out what safety measures they installed on keyless ignition vehicles.

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