The Potential Safety Hazards of Keyless CarsMay 15, 2019
If you own a car that was manufactured within the past several years, it is likely that the vehicle has a keyless ignition system, where the push of a button turns the car on and off. While there are advantages to keyless ignitions, including convenience and security, there are safety risks to consider, some of which can have fatal consequences. One tragic example involved an 86-year-old man who parked his car in his garage, but accidentally left the keyless car running. He went inside to watch a baseball game, not realizing that the carbon monoxide fumes were seeping into the house. According to the man’s daughter, by the time first responders got to him, it was too late. Safety officials proposed updated safety standards, but there has been no change to the rules.
According to one safety expert, this was not the first fatality associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, there have been 34 reported deaths in this country that were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning related to keyless ignitions. This may be partly because today’s car engines are quieter than older models, so people may be more likely to leave their vehicles running, especially since they do not have to remove a key from the ignition to shut the car off.
Automaker Argues Keyless Vehicles are Safe
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. released a statement saying that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found no increase in accidental carbon monoxide poisoning injuries related to push button ignitions, compared to traditional key ignition systems. However, an auto safety expert reported that vehicles with keyless ignitions are more prone to rollaway incidents since some of these cars can be turned off while they are still in drive mode. That means the vehicle could start to roll away as the driver is getting out of the car. If pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vehicles are in the vicinity, this could cause serious injuries.
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new safety standards for keyless ignitions. The Protecting Americans from the Risks of Keyless Ignition Technology Act was recently proposed, which addresses both carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway accidents. If the bill becomes a law, the NHTSA would have to ensure that automatic shutoffs and locking features would engage anytime a driver tried to get out of the car if it was still in drive. Fortunately, certain car companies have installed safety features in their vehicles with keyless ignitions. For example, new Ford models will automatically shut off within 30 minutes if the driver accidentally leaves the car running. Others will beep or make noise if the driver leaves while the car is still on.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Accidents Related to Keyless Ignitions
If you were injured in a car accident involving a vehicle with a keyless ignition system, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. Our dedicated team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.