The push-button convenience that comes with a keyless car ignition also comes with a risk that you could die of carbon monoxide poisoning.
To date, at least 13 people have died due to cars with keyless ignitions having been left running in garages inadvertently.
Engines Stay Running
These deaths led to the filing of a class action lawsuit in August 2015. The complaint alleges that 10 automakers hid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in more than five million vehicle with keyless ignitions.
Keyless car ignition have grown in popularity over the past decade, as they allow cars to be started even before a driver gets in their car. Through the use of a keyless fob, a driver can start the car with the push of a button if the key fob is close to the vehicle.
The danger comes from the fact that without the familiar act of removing a key from a car ignition to turn off the engine, people with keyless ignitions can park their vehicle in their garage and leave without turning the vehicle off. They may in fact think that simply by taking the key fob away from their car, it will stop running automatically.
As alleged in the class action suit:
“drivers have parked their affected vehicles inside their garages and removed the keyless fobs, only to later discover that the engines never actually turned off. As a result, deadly carbon monoxide— often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because it is a colorless, odorless gas — can fill enclosed spaces and spread to the attached homes.”
This is not a new issue. According to Consumer Reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received numerous complaints about keyless ignitions over the past few years. However, while NHSTA has been keeping an eye on the issue, it has yet to come out with any new rules or warnings about the use or the design of keyless car ignitions.
Two ideas have been suggested – one of which has been implemented in some cars – to reduce the dangers associated with accidentally leaving a car running. Many car companies have already added audible warnings to their key fobs when a car has been left on, though some still lack such a warning system (Chrysler, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen). While an automatic engine shut-off has also been proposed, no company has implemented that solution as of yet.
If you have a car with a keyless ignition, you simply need to be extra careful and mindful whenever you park and leave your car, especially in an enclosed space like your garage. This is especially true if you recently purchased your car after a lifetime of taking a key out of your ignition.
At Greening Law, P.C. in Dallas, we represent individuals who have been hurt because of dangerous or defective products. If you have been suffered injuries from such a product, please give attorney Robert Greening a call at (972) 934-8900 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss your case. We look forward to assisting you.