Keyless Ignitions Could Be a Secret Killer, Report Says
People are dying from carbon monoxide fumes in their homes after neglecting to turn off their cars.
The modern convenience of keyless ignition systems may have an unintended consequence, reports the New York Times. Drivers are forgetting to turn off their engines and are filling their homes with deadly carbon monoxide in the process.
For many years it was a simple action to turn your ignition off and remove the key. That single movement became instinct. It would simultaneously turn off the engine and secure the car from being driven off from where it was parked.
But keyless ignition systems, now available in more than half of all new cars, have changed that interface in the name of convenience. Your key fob never has to leave your pocket, yet enables you to open the doors, turn on your engine, and drive away as though no security system existed thanks to its automatic functioning via proximity.
As a result, drivers have had to learn new instincts to operate their cars differently "from how it's always been done." Automatic transmission shifters now come in a variety of designs, some of which are not intuitive to drivers used to the old-style stick or column shifter. It's easy to make a mistake, and such a mistake led to the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin in 2016.
In the case of keyless ignitions, replacing the traditional key-operated ignition with a simple start/stop button, combined with how quiet modern engines are, has led to a new problem. Some drivers simply forget to shut the engine off when they park. If parking in a garage, this can lead to brain damage or death by carbon monoxide poisoning as the invisible odorless gas fills the building.
Some cars will alert the driver when they exit the running car with the proximity key fob, as recommended by the Society of Automotive Engineers seven years ago when such systems started becoming common. But, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has considered the situation, it has not mandated any particular alert system, leaving automakers on their own. Some manufacturers offer alert systems that beep the interior chime, honk the horn, or turn the engine off automatically, while others do nothing about the situation at all.
No federal agency currently keeps track of deaths related to carbon monoxide from keyless-ignition vehicles left running. From news reports, lawsuits, police and fire records and incidents tracked by advocacy groups, The New York Times has identified 28 deaths and 45 injuries since 2006, but the figures could be higher.
- RELATEDTwo Killed by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Modified Ford Fiesta STThe British driver had installed a modified exhaust system in a bid to boost performance.READ NOW
- RELATEDFord Offers to Cover Repair Costs For 1.7 Million Explorers With Possible Carbon Monoxide IssuesAfter a long investigation, Ford is finally owning up to the issue.READ NOW
- RELATEDWhat Do You Do When You Need to Call Poison Control From the Middle of the Desert?Get on a bike. Ride hard for a cell signal. Keep telling yourself your daughter will be fine.READ NOW
- RELATEDSUVs Contribute to 46 Percent Pedestrian Death Spike Since 2009: ReportThere's been a greater increase in SUV-versus-pedestrian accidents than any other type of fatal crash since 2009.READ NOW
- RELATEDToyota Halts Autonomous Testing After Death Involving Uber CarThough not connected to the Uber incident in any way, Toyota has suspended testing of fully autonomous vehicles in the U.S. indefinitely.READ NOW