Report: 28 killed by carbon monoxide after leaving keyless cars running
NEW YORK — A report from the New York Times found that dozens of people have been poisoned by carbon monoxide after failing to shut off the keyless ignition on their vehicles.
Since 2006 at least 28 people have died and 45 others have suffered injuries from the gas after they thought they had turned off their vehicles, the Times found.
The report highlights the efforts by some groups to push for new regulations from automakers to combat the problem.
Keyless ignition allows drivers to start their cars with the press of a button while an electronic key fob remains in their pocket or purse. The technology first entered the American market in the early 2000s.
In 2015, a class action lawsuit claimed there had been 13 carbon monoxide-related deaths linked to keyless ignition cars. A judge dismissed the suit in September 2016.
The Times report, published Sunday, indicates the problem may be more widespread than previously thought.
The Society of Automotive Engineers, a leading standards group for the auto industry, seven years ago called for requiring automakers to include warning signals — such as a series of beeps — to alert drivers if their cars were left on, according to the Times report.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration then proposed a new regulation in line with the Society of Automotive Engineers idea.
But the auto industry opposed the rule, and the agency has yet to follow through with the regulation.
NHTSA also reportedly launched a probe into seven automakers in 2013 that sought to find information on what safety features they installed on keyless ignition vehicles.
“But the inquiry was quickly and inconclusively wound down,” the Times reported.
“Once NHTSA has finished its review and determined the best path forward, NHTSA will take appropriate action,” the agency said in March in a statement to the Times. NHTSA did not immediately return CNNMoney’s request for comment.
Some carmakers have voluntarily included such features, the Times reports, but others have not.
The Times said that Toyota vehicles, including some Lexus vehicles, played a part in almost half of the inadvertent carbon monoxide deaths.
Toyota told the outlet its keyless ignition product “meets or exceeds all relevant federal safety standards.”
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNNMoney.