Modern vehicles come equipped with many new features that are supposed to make our lives more convenient. The cars that are produced today come with many features that make driving easier, and they seem to be getting more automated as we move toward a self-driving vehicle society.
One feature that is available on many new cars is keyless ignition. The first keyless ignition system was introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 1999, and in the decade that followed, many other high-end vehicles were equipped with this system. Today, more than three quarters of the new vehicles that are released offer at least the option of having a keyless ignition.
Owners of keyless ignition vehicles use wireless key fobs to lock and unlock the vehicle. With some models, the vehicle can be started and turned off wirelessly using the key fob, while with others, there is a push-button ignition system inside the vehicle that will allow someone to start the car when the fob is close enough to the vehicle.
Consumers generally like keyless ignition cars because of their convenience. They like the ability to lock and unlock the door while the key fob is in their purse or pocket. In addition, many people – particularly those with arthritis and other health conditions that affect their hands – find it a lot easier to start a car with the push of a button rather than having to struggle with an older style key-in the ignition system.
For all of its convenience, keyless ignition automobiles come with some inherent dangers, and they have been known to be the cause of many car accidents and incidents that have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident that was caused by a keyless system or any other reason, you may be entitled to significant compensation. If your injury occurred in West Virginia, contact the experienced attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 to discuss your case and review your legal rights and options.
The Dangerous Downsides of Keyless Ignition Vehicles
A few years ago, the New York Times highlighted one very hazardous downside to having a keyless vehicle: the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the report, there have been at least 28 deaths and dozens of serious injuries caused by the carbon monoxide that is emitted from keyless ignition cars. The individual stories in this article are absolutely tragic.
The problem is that keyless vehicle owners sometimes forget to turn off their vehicle after parking in the garage and going into their house. Because there is no key that needs to be removed from the ignition, there may be a tendency to believe that they have already turned off the car. This can result in deadly levels of carbon monoxide filling up their garage and home.
People can easily forget to hit the ignition button and turn off their car if they have a lot of different things going through their mind when they park the vehicle. Newer cars also run a lot quieter than older vehicles, which makes it even harder to distinguish whether your car is turned on or off.
What is being done about this problem? So far, not nearly enough. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a federal regulation to require warning systems in keyless vehicles. But the auto industry opposed this regulation, and it has yet to be implemented. Some automakers have chosen to install this type of system voluntarily, but there is no universal standard in place to protect new keyless car owners.
Another safety threat with keyless ignition cars is rollaway vehicles. This happens when the car is turned off, but the vehicle is not in park. With a traditional key-in ignition system, the ignition stays locked when the vehicle is in drive or reverse, so this does not happen. Automakers are supposed to put warning systems into keyless vehicles to prevent rollaways from occurring, but these systems do not always function properly.
For the time being, regulators seem to be relying on auto manufacturers to properly address the problems that come with keyless cars. But as we wait for auto makers to do the right thing (and this could be a very long wait), there are millions of vehicles on the road that contain these hazards. Hopefully, regulators will take more decisive action in the near future to make vehicles safer.
Injured in an Auto Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance
If you or a loved one got injured in a keyless car accident or suffered any other type of personal injury in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help! For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.