Keyless Ignition Systems Can Be Deadly, Lawsuit Claims

Keyless Ignition Systems Can Be Deadly, Lawsuit Claims
Image: Pixabay
August 28, 2015

A keyless start is convenient, but a recent lawsuit claims that there's a downside.

Lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit against most major automakers due to a potentially deadly unintended effect associated with keyless ignition systems. The defect alleged in the lawsuit, reports CNN Money, is that once the car has been started, these systems allow to it continue running even after the key fob itself is no longer in the car.

Attorneys have cited examples of drivers unintentionally leaving the vehicle running inside an enclosed garage, which would result in an accumulation of carbon monoxide, a dangerous, odorless gas that can seep into homes. Many current car models run very quietly, which increases the likelihood that a driver may not notice that their vehicles is still on.

The lawsuit alleges that 13 deaths have occurred in these incidents, in addition to many more injuries.

In gasoline-electric hybrid cars, the vehicle can remain on when the driver first exits the vehicle, though the engine won't be running. However, the engine could engage later and emit noxious fumes after power in the vehicles' batteries runs low.

Many automakers are already addressing the issue. General Motors recently recalled older models of the Chevrolet Volt to edit software. Some companies have added an "auto-off" feature.

Ford, one of the companies named in the lawsuit, told CNN in a statement: "Ford takes the safety of our customers very seriously; the keyless ignition system has proven to be a safe and reliable innovative feature that has been well-received by customers. Ford vehicles equipped with keyless ignition alert drivers when the driver's door is open and the vehicle's engine is running."