Keyless cars have a unsafe downside that has killed dozens of people


Last year, Mr Fred Schaub drove his Toyota RAV4 into the garage attached to his Florida home and went into the house with the wireless key fob, believing the vehicle was shut off. Twenty-nine hours later, he was found dead, overcome with carbon monoxide that flooded his home as he slept.

Some of the deaths have resulted from drivers exiting their cars without realizing they're running.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) then proposed a new regulation in line with the Society of Automotive Engineers idea. But when Toyota engineers determined that more effective warning signals were needed - like flashing lights or a unique tone - the company rejected the recommendation, according to testimony in a wrongful-death suit.

According to The Times, there have been at least 28 deaths and 45 injuries caused by carbon monoxide emitted from vehicles with keyless ignitions since 2006.

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.

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

Marijuana Mega Merger: Aurora Cannabis Buys MedReleaf in $2.5B Deal
Buyouts delivers exclusive news and analysis about private equity deals, fundraising, top-quartile managers and more. BMO Capital Markets was Aurora's financial adviser, while Canaccord Genuity advised MedReleaf .

Some automakers have designed newer models that alert drivers more insistently when the engine is left running - or that shut it off after a certain period. Ford's keyless vehicles now have a feature that automatically turns off the engine after 30 minutes of idling if the key fob is not in the vehicle.

But many older vehicles have not been retrofitted to reduce the hazard, despite the modest expense of doing so. But the safety agency has found shortcomings and inconsistencies by carmakers in meeting those rules. "And the manufacturers will continue to settle cases".

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced in vehicle exhaust.

The risk identified initially was theft, because drivers might leave the key fob in the vehicle by accident. In 2006, the agency updated its regulations to state that with keyless ignitions, "a warning must be sufficient to catch a driver's attention before he or she exits the vehicle without the keys". As the newspaper notes, the Society of Automotive Engineers has previously called for keyless ignition systems to alert vehicles owners when their auto is still running but the keys aren't in the vehicle or nearby.

The National Highway Safety Administration recommends reading your car's manual for more information about the key fob for your keyless ignition works, never getting out of the auto while it is running and taking the key fob with you every time you leave your Vehicle.