Today’s vehicles come with numerous features that help automate the driving process and make our lives easier. Some of these features have made driving safer. Examples include blind-spot monitors and rearview cameras. There are other features, however, that though they may be more convenient, they come with some downsides as well. Vehicles with keyless starters are a good example of this.
Keyless cars were first introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the late 1990s, and at that time their product was called “Keyless Go”. These days, most vehicles are equipped with remote smart keys to lock and unlock the doors, and a lot of new vehicles come with keyless ignitions, also known as keyless “fobs”.
Most consumers like the convenience of having keyless ignition systems in their vehicles. This allows them to start the car with the push of a button and without having to dig around in their pocket or purse to find their keys. Keyless ignitions definitely save time and make driving more convenient, but they have also given rise to some potential hazards.
The Dangers of Keyless Ignition Cars
One of the most serious unintended consequences of having a keyless ignition vehicle is the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurs when people park their cars in the garage, close the garage door, and forget to shut off the vehicle. Because there is no key that needs to be removed from the ignition, it is easier to assume that the vehicle is already turned off when the person exits the vehicle.
Why does this happen? For one thing, newer vehicles tend to idle more quietly than older ones, so it is not always easy to tell if the car is turned on or off. In addition, most people in our society have a lot going on, and distractions are everywhere. When someone is focused heavily on other things, they might not remember to push the button and turn off their car.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from keyless vehicles seems to be higher among the elderly. For most of their adult lives, aging drivers have used keys to start and turn off their vehicles. So, when they switch to a keyless car, it can be harder to form a new habit of turning the car off with the push of a button.
Several years ago, the Society of Automotive Engineers proposed a solution to this problem; to install some type of alert system on the vehicle that would beep if the car was still running without the key fob in or near the car, and even shut off the engine if the car was running for a certain amount of time in that status. This would essentially involve a software change that many experts believe could be accomplished for pennies per vehicle.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a federal regulation that would mandate a software change to create an alert system like this on keyless vehicles. But the automotive industry opposed the idea, and the proposed rule change was left to languish. Hopefully, the rule will be revived, and in the meantime, the hope is that manufacturers will voluntarily install these systems into their new vehicles.
Another potential hazard that keyless ignition vehicles are more susceptible to is rollaway accidents. A rollaway accident usually occurs when a vehicle is turned off, but it is not in park. With a traditional keyed ignition, the driver cannot remove the key from the ignition if it is in drive or reverse; but with keyless ignitions, a driver could push the button and turn off the car even if it is in one of these two settings.
Automakers are supposed to install warning systems in their keyless vehicles to prevent roll-aways from happening. But unfortunately, these systems do not always work properly. Manufacturers need to devote more effort to making sure their keyless ignition cars are safe for consumers, and they need to take reasonable steps to ensure that the chances of serious and fatal accidents are minimized.
Injured in an Auto Accident in Alabama? Contact M. Adam Jones & Associates for Assistance
If you or someone close to you got hurt in a keyless vehicle accident or suffered any other type of personal injury in Alabama, you need experienced legal guidance to help guide you through the complexities of a vehicle accident claim, and to put you in a position to recover maximum compensation.
Get started on your claim today by calling M. Adam Jones & Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!
Adam Jones & Associates, LLC
206 N. Lena St.
Dothan, AL 36303