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Keyless ignition deaths mount as regulators and auto manufacturers are slow to act

08/26/2015

Only Chrysler responded directly to the question. The company confirmed it does not have a vehicle in its fleet with the auto shut-off feature, but says it is up to drivers to properly shut their cars off as per the instructions in their owners’ manuals.


Officials initially determined Harrington died from natural causes, but several days later an autopsy report corrected them, pointing instead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Incident reports would later reveal Harrington inadvertently left his 2011 Chrysler 300c running in the first floor garage. The car produced so much carbon monoxide it depleted the available oxygen in the garage and the car stalled, but not before deadly fumes traveled three floors up and seeped into Harrington’s bedroom. He died in his sleep March 19, 2012, the victim of a simple oversight that didn’t have to be fatal.

In December 2011, three months prior to Harrington’s death, NHTSA posted a public notice in the Federal Register saying it believed vehicles equipped with the keyless ignition feature posed a “clear safety problem,” citing carbon monoxide poisoning as a significant concern for any drivers who inadvertently leave a vehicle running in an enclosed space, such as a garage. The agency proposed new safety rules, but nearly four years later the proposals have yet to be implemented.

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Ten Automobile Manufacturers Sued

Thu, 08/27/2015
BMW, GM, Ford, Fiat, and Others Sued for Deadly Keyless Ignition



A total of ten automobile manufacturers hailing from all over the world are being sued in the US for endangering the lives of its consumers. According to a complaint filed in the Federal Court of the city of Los Angeles, BMW, GM, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and others hid the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by vehicles equipped with the keyless ignition feature.

Drivers have been mistakingly leaving their cars running thinking that the engines would automatically shut off when the electronic fob key leaves the vehicle, but apparently, this is not the case. At least thirteen people have died, so far, and a few million more are in danger of these deadly cars.


Vehicles that have keyless ignition or electronic key fobs do not require the key to be inserted into the vehicle for the engine to start running. Instead, there is a simple on and off button that revs up the car as long as the electronic key fob is sensed in the vicinity.

It's convenience, however, is nothing without a cost. People are leaving their vehicles without manually turning the engine off in the belief that it would automatically shut off when the driver leaves with the electronic key. But, the complainants claim that this is not the case. The engines continue running and producing excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, which if inhaled will cause dizziness, nausea, or even death. The colourless, odourless gas is especially dangerous if the garage is connected to the home because it might infiltrate even the closed doors of a child's room.

Among the defendants are BMW, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The complainants claim that these ten major automakers have known of the risks of the keyless ignition to the lives of the drivers and their families, but insisted that their cars are safe and instead placed consumers' lives in grave danger.

"The automakers had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off," one of the complainants stated.

Aside from the health risk, these major car manufacturers have yet to perfect the keyless ignition, a feature introduced over a decade ago. Volkswagen, for example, sued researchers after a study exposed the connectivity vulnerabilities presented by the communication between the dash and the chip integrated inside the key. Hackers can intercept and replicate the signal sent by the chip and then make their own copies of the key to steal the vehicle.
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Automakers Sued Over ‘Deadly’ Keyless Ignitions



08/28/2015

10 Automakers Sued Over ‘Deadly’ Keyless Ignitions

Ten automakers in the U.S. are being sued for allegedly concealing the possible risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in some vehicles with keyless ignitions.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against some of the world’s largest automakers claiming that they concealed the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in more than five-million vehicles equipped with keyless ignitions. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, some vehicle owners were under the mistaken belief that the engines will automatically shut off. As a result, some drivers left their vehicles running, resulting in toxic gas being emitted sometimes in garages attached to homes.

Automakers being named in the lawsuit include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Brands owned by those automakers are also being named as defendants, including MINI, Acura, Kia, Infiniti, Lexus and Bentley.

Drivers are claiming that the automakers have known for years about the risks of keyless ignitions, yet continued to market their vehicles as safe.

The biggest focus on the lawsuit is that plaintiffs say the automakers could have avoided 13 deaths by installing an inexpensive feature that would automatically shut off unattended engines, noting that even American automakers GM and Ford patented a shut-off feature. In addition, 27 complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 2009 over keyless ignitions.


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