Dallas Law Firm Blog

What Keyless Car Owners Should Know About Carbon Monoxide

Many new car owners enjoy keyless ignition on their vehicles, but according to a recent New York Times article, this convenience is paired with a real danger.

The newspaper reported last month that at least 28 people have died since 2006 and 45 were hurt from carbon monoxide poisoning after they believed their vehicle was shut off.

For example, a driver in Florida put his Toyota RAV4 into the garage that was connected to his house. He walked into the house with the electronic key fob in his pocket and thought the car was turned off. A day later, his family found him dead, having been poisoned with carbon monoxide that entered the home from the garage. Hs son noted that after decades of driving, his father associated taking the key with him with the engine being shut off.

The report sheds some disturbing light on a serious safety problem with many auto manufacturers and shows the efforts by some public safety groups to have new regulations to fight the safety problem.

Keyless Ignition Offers Convenience, But Problems Exist

A typical keyless ignition allows the driver to start his car by just pressing a button in the car while the key fob stays in his pocket. This convenient technology was first used in the U.S. market in the early 2000s.

In 2015, there was a class action lawsuit that claimed there were 13 carbon monoxide-related fatalities linked to keyless ignition vehicles. A judge threw out the case in 2016, however.

The New York Times article suggests this safety problem could be worse than many thought.

That is why the Society of Automotive Engineers, which is a top standards group for the automotive industry, has been calling for auto manufacturers to have warning signals, such as beeps, to tell the driver the car is still on. The NHTSA proposed a new law that was similar to the idea offered by the Society. But automakers opposed the idea, and the NHTSA has yet to do anything more with the concept.

The NHTSA also started an investigation into several automakers in 2013 that sought information on the safety features that have been installed on their keyless ignition cars and trucks. That inquiry was quietly pushed aside and little came of it.

Some automakers have volunteered to have warning features on keyless ignitions, but other companies have not expressed such interest. According to the New York Times article, many Toyota vehicles, including Lexus, have been involved in nearly 50% of the carbon monoxide fatalities.

As the number of vehicles with keyless entry continues to rise, there is a strong possibility we will see more injuries and even deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Injured by a Defect In Your Vehicle? Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney Now

The defective vehicle attorneys at Guajardo & Marks have represented many people who know how serious injuries can occur when a part on a vehicle leads to an accident or injury. If you were injured by carbon monoxide such as described in this blog, or by any other defect in a vehicle, we will work to determine who was at fault and what compensation you deserve. Please contact us today.