Ten car manufacturers are named in a recent class-action suit alleging that keyless ignition systems can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when a driver forgets to turn the engine off after parking the vehicle in a closed garage.
Keyless ignition, also known as intelligent keyless entry, allows the driver to unlock and start the car without the key, which only needs to be carried on the driver’s person. The suit suggests that eliminating the need to physically turn the key and remove it from the ignition switch makes it too easy to accidentally walk away from a still-running car.
The 28 plaintiffs behind the claim 13 people have died in such cases, and that the automakers in question–BMW, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen–knew of this risk, but concealed it. It’s not clear what kind of damages the suit seeks from the automakers, but the plaintiffs do say they want carmakers to develop automatic engine shut-off functions to prevent inattentive drivers from leaving their cars running. Currently, cars equipped with intelligent keyless entry/ignition systems provide a warning via the dashboard when the key is removed from a running vehicle, or an audible warning when the key is left inside a car that has been turned off.
“The automakers had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off,” says the claim, which was filed this week in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles.
Only Ford has issued a statement in response to the suit, saying that it ‘takes customer safety “very seriously” and that its ignition system is “safe and reliable.”
October 9, 2013
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