It is quite common to drive a car without an actual key these days. Keyless ignition vehicles present a convenience for many drivers who can start and turn off their cars with the press of a button. In keyless vehicles, drivers carry a “fob” that looks like the top of a key and can control the car as long as the fob is within range.
However, some drivers can forget their cars are running without having to carry a key, and with vehicle engines becoming more and more quiet, drivers are not able to tell their cars are still running. When drivers leave their vehicles running in their garages, deadly carbon monoxide fills the garage and the attached home.
The New York times has identified 28 deaths and 45 injuries attributed to keyless ignition vehicles left running and subsequent carbon monoxide poisoning. People who survive the incidents are often left with brain injuries. In Palm Beach County, Florida, the fire department was responding to so many calls about carbon monoxide from vehicles left running that the fire chief started handing out carbon monoxide detectors for people to affix in their garages. The detectors read “Carbon Monoxide Kills. Is Your Car Off?”
Currently, no federal regulations are in place regarding alarms or alerts on keyless ignition vehicles, though some vehicle manufacturers have voluntarily taken steps to install safety measures. Toyota has installed alarms on the inside and outside of its cars to alert drivers when their cars are still running, and Ford has installed automatic shutoffs on its keyless cars to turn their vehicles off when they have been running for 30 minutes without the fob inside.