Keyless ignition is yet another big convenience added to our vehicles over the last decade or two. No longer having to fumble with a key to start up the car? Sounds great. At Tapalian Law, RI personal injury lawyer David Tapalian is all for the latest and greatest safety technology and convenience features to make the driving experience safer and less distracting. Along with keyless ignition, the majority of newer vehicles have keyless entry, allowing us to gain entry into and start our car without every touching a key. But the truth is, this convenience can also be deadly. Lately, more attention is being brought to its potentially detrimental result- death or injury from carbon monoxide poisoning.
How is Keyless Ignition Causing Fatalities?
Keyless entry and keyless ignition are both automotive features that allow a vehicle to be entered, or the engine started, without having to manually handle a key. If the key fob is on the person, in their hand, a pocket, or purse within the designated distance range, the key fob can transmit a radio signal therefore allowing the car door to be opened or the engine started. On the other hand, it also allows the driver to exit the vehicle with the key fob while the car is still running. Many newer model cars, especially electric or hybrid vehicles, are extremely quiet leaving us to sometimes question if the engine is even running. Because the vehicle is so quiet, it can be easy to forget to turn off the engine and leave the vehicle running. Older drivers can be especially prone to doing so. But this is where the danger of carbon monoxide lies. If said vehicle is parked inside an enclosed garage attached to a home, the carbon monoxide can build up and seep into the home silently poisoning those inside, often in their sleep. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that one cannot see, taste, or smell. When breathed in, it can displace oxygen in the blood depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs of necessary oxygen. This can result in death. Those with carbon monoxide exposure that is not fatal may end up with other sicknesses and injuries such as headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, or unconsciousness, as well as brain damage. Some automotive manufacturers are facing wrongful death lawsuits or personal injury lawsuits as a result.