First introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 1998, the keyless ignition system eliminated the use of keys to enter the vehicle and fire up the engine. The system later on trickled down to even budget cars and is now part of most cars sold in the United States.
A recent report, however, has revealed that there have been 28 deaths and over 45 injuries since 2006 in the United States, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning in cars with keyless ignition systems. Some victims have been left with brain damage as well. The report reveals that owners forgot to turn off the engine after parking their cars in closed spaces. Since most modern cars are silent at idle, owners found it difficult to tell if the cars are running or not. When left running for elongated periods of time, the exhaust fumes that contain carbon monoxide fill the vicinity, and this resulted in the deaths and injuries.
The Society of Automotive Engineers issued recommendations in 2011, where manufacturers were asked to install audible or visual alerts to remind the drivers to turn off the engine before leaving the vehicle. Some regulation changes are soon expected as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a regulation which would need vehicles to warn owners when the ignition hasn’t been shut off. Many manufacturers are against the ruling even though it would cost less than $5,00,000 a year. Some manufacturers like Ford, however, have added a feature to its cars which turns off the engine if the car has been idling for some time and the key fob isn’t in the vehicle.