Keyless ignition systems used in many newer cars have been linked a number of carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in recent years, where the vehicles are accidentally left running, allowing a dangerous amount of fumes to build up and leak into the home. However, there are several steps that auto makers could take to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from keyless ignitions.
Last week, ABC News aired an investigative report that highlighted growing risk of carbon monoxide problems stemming from keyless ignitions, which have been linked to at least a dozen deaths.
The report also raises questions about why vehicles do not come with warning alarms or automatic shut-off systems, which would prevent carbon monoxide gas from building up in garages, seeping into homes where it may cause devastating injuries.
In a test conducted by ABC News, a Chrysler 300 with a keyless ignition system left running in a garage caused carbon monoxide levels to build up lethal levels of 890 parts per million (ppm) in just two and half hours, to thousands of parts per million in just a few hours which could cause death in minutes, or leave occupants with severe brain damage from carbon monoxide if they survive the exposure.
The report notes that many of the cars with keyless ignition systems have quieter engines, making it hard for consumers to recognize that the car is still running. In addition, the alarms that are present are often not audible outside of the vehicle.
For years, consumer advocates have pushed for automatic shut-offs for all keyless ignition systems. In addition, car manufacturers have pushed back against proposed federal regulations that call for even a mandatory alarm.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that is often known as the “silent killer” for these reasons. Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for at least 500 deaths in the U.S. annually, and blamed for about 15,000 emergency visits this year.
Even at low levels, where victims can survive, it often causes permanent brain damage. At high levels it can cause death.
In addition, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often resemble those of the flu, which makes it harder for victims to realize they are suffering from exposure to the toxic gas.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuits From Keyless Ignitions
Automakers have the technology to install automatic shut off systems in keyless ignition vehicles, thus preventing deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning. However, many appear to have placed profits ahead of consumer safety and refuse to use the technology, and many are even fighting ongoing attempts to craft regulations that require just a simple alarm.
Financial compensation may be available through a carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit for individuals who have been injured or died due to carbon monoxide levels that built up when a vehicle with a keyless ignition system was accidentally left running.
The carbon monoxide lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help determine if you, your family or a loved one may be entitled to pursue a case. All claims are handled on a contingency-fee basis, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket expense and Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. attorneys only collect fees from a settlement agreement or jury verdict. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation.