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Lawsuit Against Automakers Alleges Keyless Ignitions Killed 13 People

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/28/2015 Megan Stewart

Keyless ignition systems have become a standard feature in many new vehicles sold in the U.S., which allows drivers to simply push a button to start their cars. But now, lawyers have filed a lawsuit claiming that this technology has a "deadly" defect that has caused the deaths of 13 people. Automakers named in the lawsuit include Toyota, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, and more.

Research

The lawsuit claims that these systems allow the vehicle to run even after the key fob is no longer in the car, which can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide when the vehicles are left in an enclosed area. Only 13 deaths have been included in the lawsuit, but many more injuries have been noted. In quiet cars like hybrid vehicles, the engine may be off when the driver exits the vehicle, but can come back on later when the battery pack runs low. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

The obvious solution would be for drivers to simply turn off their vehicles before exiting them, but apparently some are inadvertently forgetting this step. Most push-button start systems have an alert for when the driver exits the vehicle without turning it off. However, GM has come out with a recent fix for this issue after it recalled older Chevrolet Volt models. Now, new Volt models will shut off after a few minutes if the fob is no longer in the car.

Other automakers have also instituted an auto shut-off in newer cars and trucks, but nothing has been done to add the software to older models. Ford recently released a statement regarding lawsuit, stating, "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."

Source: CNN

2016 Chevrolet Volt© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Volt
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