Keyless ignition vehicles, which allow for a car to be started without using a traditional metal key, have an inherent safety design defect, according to a class action lawsuit against automakers. The number of people injured or killed because of carbon monoxide poisoning caused from keyless ignition vehicles is climbing steadily.
Carbon monoxide risk comes from idling vehicles
A keyless ignition vehicle poses a safety risk because the fob (which allows a person to enter the vehicle) is required to start a keyless car, but not turn it off. It is therefore easy for people to forget to turn off their keyless ignition vehicle when using the fob to exit the car.
If the car does not have an automatic shutoff, then the vehicle will run until it is out of gas. With the tank full, carbon monoxide can seep from the garage into the home, causing a life-threatening risk for the family inside.
Feds to issue rule regarding keyless ignition in February.
Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue a final rule regarding keyless ignition vehicles. The NHTSA recognized the danger posed by keyless ignition vehicles as early as 2011, but has failed to issue a mandatory rule for automakers or issue a recall despite mounting fatalities. The rule is only expected to include issuing an alarm when a vehicle sits idle, which critics argue will not eliminate the risk.
In addition, keyless ignition vehicles already on the road are not expected to receive a recall, meaning that the defect will pose a risk for consumers for years to come.
Lawsuit pending against automakers
A design defect lawsuit has been filed against automakers for failing to recall and fix keyless ignition vehicles. The lawsuit alleges that vehicle manufacturers knew the risk posed to consumers but failed to address the design defect before rollout. The lawsuit is seeking to force carmakers to recall and fix keyless ignition vehicles that pose a safety risk to consumers free of charge, and provide compensation for families who have been affected.
Keyless ignition vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, with the feature standard in 245 models for 2016.