Deadly convenience: Keyless cars and their carbon monoxide toll

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By John Delano of Hammond Indiana via Wikipedia CC BY 2.0

A class-action lawsuit linked to carbon monoxide deaths and keyless cars was dismissed by a NY judge in 2016. Keyless ignition allows drivers to start their cars with the press of a button while an electronic key fob remains in their pocket or purse.

The New York Times number comes from a variety of sources, including news reports, lawsuits, and police and fire records that have been tracked by advocacy groups. No inserting and turning of a key is required to start the ignition. The result: carbon monoxide doing great harm in both garages and homes.

According to a new report by the New York Times, since 2006, more than two dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning when a keyless vehicle was accidentally left running inside a garage.

Isn't the easiest fix to this isolated problem for the cars to automatically turn off after a set number of minutes when being idle?

According to a spokesman for Toyota in an interview with the BBC, "Customer safety is always our priority and Toyota's Smart Key System has and continues to meet or exceed all relevant safety standards". Dozens of others have been injured, some left with brain damage.

While automakers have installed warning systems into their keyless-ignition vehicles voluntarily, there is no universal standard among the systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a federal regulation for warning systems in keyless vehicles in 2011, but the regulation was opposed by the auto industry and has yet to be implemented.

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