Almost 30 people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of not turning off vehicles that have a keyless ignition, according to a New York Times investigation.
Since 2006, 28 people have died and 45 others were injured as a result of inadvertently leaving their keyless-ignition vehicle running in a garage, the newspaper reported.
The keyless ignition technology has been around since the mid-2000s, which allows for a push-button start as opposed to using a key to turn the vehicle’s engine on. They system works with a wireless electronic device, called a fob, that the driver carries in their pocket or bag.
In 2016, a judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit that claimed there had been 13 carbon-monoxide-related deaths as a result of keyless ignition vehicles.
Speaking to the Times, Doug Schaub said his father died after leaving this Toyota RAV4 running in his garage, thinking that his car had been shut off since he had taken the fob inside his house with him.
“After 75 years of driving, my father thought that when he took the key with him when he left the car, the car would be off,” Schaub said.
Schaub’s father was found dead 29 hours after arriving home, and carbon monoxide flooded his house.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas and can accumulate whenever fuel is burned. Common fuels include wood, natural gas, oil and propane. It is readily produced by internal combustion engines.
The Society of Automotive Engineers, an auto industry standards group, called for manufactures to include warning features on vehicles that have keyless starters that would warn owners their vehicle was still running, according to the newspaper.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new regulation based on Society of Automotive Engineers recommended safety features, but the auto industry opposed the regulation according to CNN.
According to the New York Times, the exact number of carbon-monoxide-related deaths from keyless ignition vehicles remains unknown as there isn’t a federal agency in the U.S. that keeps records. Based on data available up to 2016, only four fatal incidents were investigated.
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