Since 2009, keyless ignition systems in cars have claimed the lives of at least 21 people in the United States through carbon monoxide poisoning, seven of which have occurred in Palm Beach County.
Although the actual number of fatalities related to keyless ignition systems is unknown due to limited record-keeping, new cases continue to come to light.
Consumer advocate groups are calling for new safety regulations to be applied to cars that feature the keyless ignition system to help prevent further tragedies.
How Keyless Ignitions Work
With a keyless ignition, the driver starts the engine by pushing a button, rather than inserting a conventional key. The key fob that controls the vehicle never has to leave the drivers purse or pocket.
A growing number of deaths are occurring in instances when a driver has parked their vehicle in an enclosed garage attached to their home and then either forgets to or doesn't properly turn the engine off when exiting the car, not realizing that the car is still running.
The running vehicle emits colorless and odorless carbon monoxide, which can seep throughout the house and kill before anyone inside realizes what is happening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue new rules for car makers that would make keyless ignition systems safer. Many feel that if these regulations had been put into effect sooner, lives would have been saved.
Proposed safeguards would include automatic shut-off systems that would turn the car off when it has been left running for a specific amount of time. Automakers could also implement alarms either inside or outside of the vehicle to alert drivers if the engine is still running.
The experienced defective product attorneys at Gordon & Doner want to help if you or someone you love has experienced these dangerous circumstances or suffered an injury due to a keyless ignition system. A personal injury lawyer from our firm can help to determine if you may be eligible to compensation for any damages you may have suffered.