Keyless Cars and the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Categories: Personal Injury

Keyless Cars and the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Keyless ignitions on new vehicles have gained in popularity in recent years, but a startling report from the New York Times reveals something alarming: Dozens of people have been killed from carbon monoxide poisoning after they did not turn off the keyless ignition on their car.

The Times report notes that 28 people since 2006 died and 45 others suffered injuries from carbon monoxide after they mistakenly believed their vehicles had been shut off. The report is highlighting the efforts some groups are making to encourage new laws for auto manufacturers to fight the problem.

A keyless ignition system allows the driver to start a vehicle by pressing a button in the vehicle; the electronic key fob is in their purse or pocket. The technology first came to America in the early 2000s.

A class action lawsuit in 2015 claimed there had been 13 deaths related to carbon monoxide and keyless ignition vehicles. A judge threw out the suit in 2016.

But the New York Times report, which was published this month, suggests the problem could be more pervasive than initially believed.

A possible solution suggested by the Society of Automotive Engineers is to require car makers to feature warning signals, such as a series of beeps, to warn drivers that their vehicle is still running. The NHTSA backed a new regulation that supported this concept.

The auto industry came out against the rule, and the NHTSA has not yet followed up with anything. The agency also started a probe into seven car manufacturers several years ago that attempted to find data on the safety features that have been installed on keyless ignition products. But this inquiry was wound down very quickly.

Some auto manufacturers are volunteering to have these types of safety features on their keyless entry systems, but others are not. Lexus vehicles have been involved in nearly 50% of the carbon monoxide deaths to date in the United States.

Product Liability Overview

Neale & Fhima, serving Los Angeles and surrounding areas, reminds readers that they can file a product liability lawsuit if a defective part of the vehicle caused damage or injury. This can be done on the basis of several legal theories:

  • Breach of warranty: This can include either an express or implied guarantee.
  • Negligence: The dealer or manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care.
  • Strict liability: The auto part or product was inherently dangerous and this led to injury.
  • Misrepresentation or fraud: There was deceptive marketing or concealment of a danger.

Consumers who have been injured by a defective product, such as a vehicle keyless entry system, should remember they have legal rights.

Contact a Los Angeles Product Liability Attorney Now

Neale & Fhima has many years of experience holding auto manufacturers responsible if they manufacture a product that leads to personal injury or death. If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous keyless entry system on a vehicle, please contact our law offices today for a complimentary consultation.  We serve all of Los Angeles and Orange counties.