Push-button start contributing to carbon monoxide poisoning

Push-button start contributing to carbon monoxide poisoning

No inserting and turning of a key is required to start the ignition.

The New York Times reported Sunday that at least 20 deaths have been linked to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by cars left idling in garages when their drivers thought their engines were off.

In 2011, the Society of Automotive Engineers recommended that automakers include visual or sonic warnings to alert drivers who leave their vehicles running without a key fob inside. To date, although automobile makers have installed warning systems into their keyless-ignition cars voluntarily, there are no universe standards for each system.

The New York Times number comes from a variety of sources, including news reports, lawsuits, and police and fire records that have been tracked by advocacy groups.

Nissan Murano scores top marks in crash test
Nissan Murano scores top marks in crash test

In 2011, the Society of Automotive Engineers (a global body, not US-only) called for warning systems when drivers take the key but leave the vehicle running, and the US National Highway Transport Safety Association pushed for mandatory warnings, but neither managed to push through resistance from manufacturers. In a keyless vehicle, the driver hits the off button. That way, the engine turns off, thereby removing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Ford, Volkswagen, and Audi shut off the vehicle after a period of time if they detect the driver is not there; for Ford, the auto shuts off after 30 minutes if the fob is not near the vehicle.

According to a spokesman for Toyota in an interview with the BBC, "Customer safety is always our priority and Toyota's Smart Key System has and continues to meet or exceed all relevant safety standards".

Each year, 17 million new cars are sold in the United States.

While convenient, keyless cars can sometimes have a deadly effect, according to a report from the New York Times. While the numbers of deaths are small in the grand scheme of things, it's still too many for a problem that could be avoided and the expense of a little convenience.

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