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NHTSA Seeks to Modify Keyless Ignition Systems to Minimize Safety Risks

The convenience offered by keyless ignition systems can be outweighed by the safety risks they may pose. The keyless technology, which usually comes with an electronic fob that lets a driver unlock the vehicle and start it without having to insert an actual key in the ignition, has been blamed in a number of incidents that have resulted in injury or death. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking to modify these keyless ignition systems to make them safer.

With no key to turn and remove from the ignition it can be easy to leave the vehicle while forgetting to turn the engine off or thinking that you have when you actually didn’t. This can lead to tragic accidents, such as in the case of Mary Rivera and Ernest Codelia. River left her Lexus in the garage attached to her residence and didn’t realize that she never turned the engine off. This caused carbon monoxide to seep into her home. As a result of the CO poisoning, Rivera sustained permanent brain injury. Codelia, who also was exposed to the carbon monoxide, died from his injuries. Rivera and Codelia’s family are now suing Toyota for auto products liability. They are blaming the automaker for creating a keyless ignition system that makes it easy for a motorist to accidentally leave a vehicle unattended with the engine still running. Another peril that the keyless ignition system appears to be posing is that a driver might get out of the car and get hit by the vehicle that has been accidentally left on and not in park mode. NHTSA received at least one complaint by a driver.

The NHTSA is proposing a new rule to minimize some of these safety risks. The traffic safety agency wants to standardize these systems and require that a mere half-second press of the power button would automatically turn off a vehicle engine. It also wants there to be a warning sound that would go off if a driver were to get out of the car without putting the vehicle in park. A warning would also be activated if a motorist were to leave the vehicle with his/her key Fob but without turning the car off.

Our Boston auto products liability lawyers represent people who were injured or lost loved ones because an auto or any of it parts proved defective or dangerous. We are not afraid to go after automakers to fight for our clients’ financial recovery caused by poorly designed auto parts, seat belt defects, air bag failure, tire blowouts, or other safety issues.

Keyless ignition dangers addressed by proposed rule, NHTSA, March 16, 2012

Toyota sued in carbon monoxide tragedy that killed 79-year-old lawyer, New York Daily News, November 7, 2010


More Blog Posts:

Toyota Issues International Recall of 1.3 Million Motor Vehicles, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 29, 2009

GM and NHTSA Announce Recall of 1.5 Million Motor Vehicles, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 21, 2009
Recent Accidents Spark Seatbelt Enforcement Debate in Massachusettse, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2012
Contact our Boston injury lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP today.