Push-button ignition, can lead to accidental death from carbon-monoxide poisoning


Published on July 10th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Push-button ignition, can lead to accidental death from carbon-monoxide poisoning

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In cars that have keyless, push-button ignition, an electronic key fob is recognized by the car to authorize driving and the use of power accessories. That fob can conveniently remain in the driver’s pocket or purse, as the ignition switch itself is just a button on the dash.

Danger can arise, though, if a driver inadvertently leaves the car running when exiting the vehicle which is an easy thing to do intentionally or accidentally. Even if you take the key fob with you, the engine can keep idling. If the car is parked in a closed garage attached to a house, especially an underground car park which many rich homes have today, carbon monoxide fumes from the idling engine may seep into the living area, possibly harming anyone in the house.
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Another growing concern is with keyless-ignition hybrids and plug-in hybrid cars. Here they can pose an even stealthier problem, because they are virtually silent when in electric mode, which they may well be when sitting still after parking. A driver doesn’t have to be absent-minded to assume that the car is shut down after all, the engine isn’t running. But the car may not be truly off. The engine could restart itself, say to address a climate control need, potentially sending carbon monoxide into the residence.

News reports have linked more than a dozen carbon-monoxide deaths to keyless ignitions, and a number of lawsuits have been filed against automakers in the last few years in North America including a potential class action suit against the 10 largest automakers. However the automakers have known about this issue for years but have ignored it, citing this as a issue of neglidgence on the part of the driver.

Many of these vehicles will warn drivers when they leave/walk away from the car with the engine idling using a sound like a chime or a chirp of the horn, however there are some cars that remain quiet.

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