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Keyless ignitions pose a serious hazard to vehicle owners

Everyone knows that you need to turn off your car when parked in your home's garage or some other enclosed space. Otherwise, carbon monoxide could build up and cause serious illness or death. What if you thought you turned your car off, but in fact, it continued to run well after you closed your garage door and went inside your home? This is a real danger with keyless ignitions.

In fact, approximately 45 injured people and 28 deaths have been attributed to keyless ignitions since 2006.Those are just the instances that people and government agencies know about, so the numbers could be higher.

What is the industry doing about it?

Ford took the issue seriously enough to make sure that the vehicle shuts off if the key fob that goes along with the keyless ignition is not in the vehicle for 30 minutes. Frankly, 30 minutes is a long time. Depending on where an individual is in relation to the vehicle, it could be enough time to kill.

Other manufacturers, such as Toyota and Lexus, say that their vehicles meet federal standards, yet the majority of the deaths and injuries mentioned above were in vehicles from these manufacturers. Toyota's keyless ignition vehicles do sound alarms if the driver leaves the vehicle running, but they do not have any redundancy to turn off the vehicle automatically.

The National Transportation and Safety Administration has been reviewing comments regarding the making of a rule for these vehicles since 2011, and it has yet to take any action. In the meantime, those who survive carbon monoxide poisoning often suffer from lasting brain damage.

Recognizing the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

If you have a vehicle with a keyless ignition and feel the following symptoms after coming home and putting your car in the garage, you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and should seek medical help immediately:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Light-headedness

Generally, you may feel as though you are coming down with the flu. If it turns out that your vehicle was the culprit, you may explore your legal options and gain an understanding of your rights. Motor vehicle manufacturers, among others, may bear some legal responsibility for your illness and any lasting effects you experience.

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