Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from the push of a button
The convenience of never having to dig for keys or having to worry that your car will get stolen is definitely a breath of fresh air. Yet, it can also put you at risk of being the last breath of air you take. Is having a keyless ignition really worth it?
While keyless ignition systems offer a convenient way to start the car, an innocent mistake at the end of the journey could lead to tragic consequences.
Nearly 72 percent of all vehicles have keyless ignition systems. Instead of a traditional key, a small remote device—called a FOB—that you can carry in your pocket or purse unlocks the doors and starts the car. It’s as easy as a push of a button.
Problems occur when drivers forget to turn the car off. This is a common mistake in any keyless vehicle, but happens with more frequency in ultra-quiet hybrids. Drivers can also put themselves at risk if they forget how to shut down the engine in the event of an emergency. If the driver parks the car in the garage without turning it off, the running engine can fill the garage and home with carbon monoxide, which can lead to serious injury or death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious risk for owners of keyless ignition system cars.
According to a lawsuit filed against major automakers in August 2015, 13 deaths and numerous injuries have occurred because cars continue to run even after the FOB is no longer in the car. The car doesn’t shut off automatically.Many auto manufacturers have tried to improve safety by warning consumers with an audible chirp or beep if they leave the car running. Other vehicles, such as Chevrolet Volt, have software that will shut the car off a few minutes after the FOB leaves the vehicle.
However, a Consumer Reports “quick scan” of its test car fleet found that models from Volvo, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Chrysler do not have any warning system in place.
Until The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or another federal agency puts mandatory rules in place, consumers need to be proactive to prevent serious injuries caused by keyless ignition systems.
To protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning or other injury from keyless ignition systems, NHTSA recommends the following:
- Make sure your car is in “park” before shutting down the engine.
- Make sure you turn off the engine before exiting the car.
- Apply the parking brake before exiting the car.
- Check your driver’s manual for instructions on how to properly operate your vehicle.
Auto manufacturers have the technology to install warning signals or an auto-shutoff feature in keyless ignition vehicles.
Many fail to do so because they reportedly believe a loud chirp will annoy the consumer, and an auto-shutoff feature would pose its own safety hazards. However, risk of injury or death should take precedent over a customer annoyance.
Does your car have a keyless ignition system? Does it warn you if you fail to shut off the ignition? If not, here’s how to take action:
- Write the manufacturer and alert them of the problem. Demand a recall of the unsafe make and model.
- Contact a law firm that specializes in product liability cases. If you’ve been injured from failing to shut down a keyless ignition, the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer may be held responsible.
- If a keyless ignition system played a role in your auto accident, a personal injury lawyer can advocate on your behalf with insurance companies and possibly file a claim for medical expenses and other damages.
To learn more about the safety hazards of keyless ignition systems, or to speak with an attorney that concentrates on personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice cases, contact the Law Office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, & Fronrath in West Palm Beach, Florida. If you have immediate questions they also offer the option to live chat. The firm has fought for clients’ rights for the past 30 years.