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Class action suit filed against automakers producing keyless ignition vehicles

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015   

Last week, a nation wide class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles against ten automakers in an effort to curtail threats and deaths caused by keyless ignitions in their vehicles.

GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Volkswagen are among the ten targeted manufacturers that the suit accuses of producing dangerous products. According to Safety Research & Strategies and NHTSA reports, the keyless design leads some drivers to believe that their key fobs are responsible for turning their vehicles on and off; however, removal of the fob from the vehicle does not turn the engine off. This has led drivers to exit their vehicles mistakenly thinking they have turned them off. As a result, at least thirteen carbon monoxide poisoning deaths have occurred. The lawsuit filed last Tuesday seeks to implement an automatic cut-off feature that would put a stop to this danger.

In addition to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, the keyless ignition feature reintroduces the rollaway problem that was solved in 1992 with a Final Rule stating that automatic vehicles would be required to incorporate a key-locking system that would stop the driver from being able to remove the key unless the transmission was first locked in “Park.” Manufacturers have skirted this issue with an electronic code that acts as the “key,” but this leads to confusion among drivers over the exact process of shutting off their vehicles.

So far, the NHTSA has received 46 complaints of drivers mistakenly leaving their vehicles on and 59 complaints of rollaways to date.

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