Dozens Dead From Too-Clever Automobiles

Dozens have died after failing to do this one thing on their new vehicles

Fred Schaub drove his car into the garage attached to his Florida home and went into the house with the wireless key fob, evidently believing the car was shut off. 29 hours later, he was found dead, overcome with carbon monoxide that flooded his home while he slept.

(CNN Money) At least 28 people have died and 45 others have suffered injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning after they thought they had turned off their vehicles, the New York Times has found.

The report highlights efforts to push for new regulations to combat the problem.

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. The technology first entered the American market in the early 2000s.

Judge dismissed suit

In 2015, a class action lawsuit claimed there had been 13 carbon monoxide-related deaths linked to keyless ignition cars. A judge dismissed the suit in September 2016.

The Times report, published Sunday, indicates the problem may be more widespread than previously thought.

The Society of Automotive Engineers seven years ago called for requiring automakers to include warning signals — such as a series of beeps — to alert drivers if their cars were left on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration then proposed a new regulation in line with the Society of Automotive Engineers idea.

But the auto industry opposed the rule, and the agency has yet to follow through with the regulation. Read the full story at CNN Money.

More than two dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after accidentally leaving their cars running in the garage

Dozens more suffered debilitating injuries. The victims had left their cars running in the garage.

Why is this happening?

It’s a mistake that’s made easier by modern keyless ignition systems, which allow drivers to start and shut off their vehicle with the press of a button. The car key — really just a key fob — can remain in a purse or pocket. But making it so easy turn on a vehicle also makes it easy to forget to turn it off.

This is especially true with quiet, hybrid cars. The engine might not be running when the car is first parked, but will come on later as the car’s batteries run down. Even many non-hybrid cars today have extremely quiet engines, the sound of which can be virtually undetectable when the car is parked.

What cars have this feature?

So-called keyless entry systems are a standard feature on many new cars and at least an option on even the least expensive economy models. It’s a convenience that’s on millions of cars today, and it’s appreciated by owners who no longer have to fumble with car keys.

With this feature, drivers can lock and unlock the car just by touching the door handles — without using the key fob at all. Once inside, drivers can start their vehicle the press of a button or, in some cases, the twist of a knob. Read the full story at CNN Money.


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