Keyless ignition systems, which allow drivers to start their cars with the press of a button instead of the twist of a key, have recently come under fire for safety concerns. There have been documented instances of keyless ignition systems causing deaths due to the fact that these systems have an inherent defect that allows the vehicle to stay running after the driver has gotten out of the car with the key fob. This has led to carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway accidents.
Based on a mistaken belief that the car’s engine would turn off when the key fob is removed from the vehicle, a number of motorists have inadvertently left vehicles running in closed garages. This has resulted in several deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning from the cars’ exhaust.
A nationwide class-action lawsuit has been filed against 10 automakers that produce and market vehicles with keyless ignitions. One goal of the lawsuits is to force the implementation of an automatic shutoff feature when the key fob is removed from the vehicle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS”) received warnings about the dangers of keyless ignition systems as early as 2010, but failed to act. In December 2011, the agency said there was clearly a problem, but the rulemaking process has languished since then.
NHTSA failed to regulate the development of the keyless ignition system, allowing the evolution of the current systems in place today. Automakers have developed these systems unfettered, which has led to confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning deaths and rollaway accidents.
A class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in Los Angeles seeks injunctive relief to help eliminate carbon monoxide poisoning. The lawsuit alleges that 13 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths have occurred due to faulty design. The automakers include Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Nissan and Toyota.
Plaintiffs argue that automakers could easily implement a software patch. The patch would cut off the engine when the driver takes the key fob out of the vehicle. Such a fix would also eliminate the rollaway accidents which have occurred due to the flawed shutoff system.
There have been at least 105 complaints lodged with NHTSA involving keyless ignition incidents and carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, there have been 46 complaints of cars continuing to run, and 59 complaints of cars rolling away and causing accidents.
Of the 10 automakers named in the lawsuit, only Ford has voluntarily implemented automatic shutoff devices on some of its newest models. However, the automaker stated that it would not retrofit older vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident or incident involving a defective keyless ignition system, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call us today at 800.278.9200 to schedule your no obligation consultation or complete our convenient contact form.