Americans are dying due to keyless ignition systems in their cars. It’s time to stop this. It’s also time for keyless ignition lawsuits.

If someone in your family was a victim of a keyless ignition system causing carbon monoxide poisoning, notify the Willis Law Firm today. We will quickly provide you a free legal review of your case. Then you can decide if you want to claim payments with a keyless ignition system lawsuit.

What Is Keyless Ignition?

First, you may need an understanding of what is keyless ignition. Also known as remote start, keyless remote and push-button start, such systems have been placed in American vehicles since at least the year 2003.

These keyless start systems enable owners to start their vehicle simply by pressing an on-off button, rather than using an ignition key, as long as an electronic key “fob” is in their possession inside the vehicle. The fob is the same thing drivers often use to unlock a vehicle or raise the hood of its trunk from the outside.

Tragically, after a vehicle has been started in this way, the electronic system lets it keep running even after the driver has left the car with the fob. Also, some vehicles whose engines have stopped may have the engine start again on its own.

Drivers may be unaware of running engines in unattended cars since so many of today’s vehicles have remarkably quiet engines which run extremely smoothly. In hybrid cards powered by gas and electricity, an engine may not even be running when a driver exits the car, but then could start up again when the car’s battery runs low.

Such inadvertent running of unattended cars’ engines can be extremely dangerous, especially when vehicles are in an enclosed garage. There, toxic odorless carbon monoxide gas can accumulate and seep into adjacent structures. Even worse, imagine if this happened in a parking garage where a car’s engine ran silently for hours.

Thirteen keyless ignition deaths have been reported so far due to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by vehicles equipped with keyless ignition systems. It’s believed 5 million such vehicles are on America’s roads, although no widespread keyless ignition recall has been issued yet.

To date, some newer vehicles have been equipped with alarms or automatic shutoff systems, but no industry-wide recall for older vehicles has been made.

Keyless Ignition Defect Lawsuit

Already, lawsuits are proceeding over keyless ignition defects. In federal court in Los Angeles, CA, 28 plaintiffs filed a class-action keyless ignition lawsuit against 10 major automakers.

Plaintiffs contend that the manufacturers hid the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in their vehicles equipped with keyless ignition systems, and that this caused 13 fatalities and many injuries and “near misses.” (An estimated 430 persons yearly are killed by unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Plaintiffs also contend that news of the defect has led to decreases in the value of their vehicles.

The 10 defendants are:

  • Ford Motor Co.
  • Volkswagen
  • BMW
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Nissan
  • General Motors
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Fiat Chrysler

Keyless Ignition Deaths and Injuries

Along with 13 reported deaths due to keyless ignition systems, many people have been injured and have narrowly escaped death. Among them were three residents of a home and four police officers responding to a 911 call when a 2009 Nissan Murano was inadvertently left running in a garage overnight in North Carolina.

Also, Ray Harrington died at his home in North Carolina in 2012 after he left his car with the engine running in his garage. And in 2009, Ernest Codelia died and college professor Mary Rivera suffered permanent damage to her brain when her Lexus parked in her garage continued to run.

Also perishing have been Pasquale and Rina Fontanini of Highland Park, Illinois. They had a vehicle with keyless ignition and inadvertently left it with the engine still running. The engine ran all night and led to the death of the couple.

The death toll for keyless entry system accidents could be even worse, according to Kids and Cars, a safety organization. It believes 19 people have died in this way — so far.

How To Fix Keyless Ignition

As for how to fix the keyless ignition problem, lawsuits have maintained this could be done simply by adding a feature to turn engines off automatically when a vehicle is unattended. Many vehicles have very quiet engines, and it’s not always apparent to drivers that a car they’ve departed still has its engine running.

It’s believed Ford and GM even have made moves to patent such a shut-off element, which is believed to be inexpensive. All that’s needed is either to shut off the engine automatically when the car is left unattended.

An alternative system is to convey a warning or signal to a driver when leaving a car that the engine is still on.

Some such systems already have been adopted, but not on a widespread basis. The Hyundai Santa Fe gives a noise alert for several seconds. The Lexus RX 350 beeps several times. The Ford Eagle honks twice and displays a flashing alert on the dashboard.

Clearly, an industry standard is needed so that all drivers can come to expect certain warnings or alerts when exiting their vehicle with the engine running. Or, an automatic shutoff should be installed.

Reportedly, Ford already has taken that route, by devising an automatic shutoff system which turns a vehicle’s engine off when a driver exits. Ford reportedly has installed such a system on newer models of its vehicles.

Some believe this is the answer. An automatic engine shutdown after a certain period of time would not necessitate a driver’s heeding a warning signal. One such method is being explored by some automakers by directing an engine to shut off when the fob is not in the vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, made a proposal for a new rule to mandate such alarm systems in vehicles, indicating it was a “clear safety problem.” But that was in the year 2011. No move has been made yet to adopt such a rule, which the agency still is considering.

Filing a Remote Start Lawsuit

Persons already victimized by defective push button start systems have an option: filing a remote start lawsuit. Then they can claim payments for their keyless start system injury, including money for their medical or hospital costs, their lost present to future wages and their pain and suffering.

Contact the Willis Law Firm today to explore your prospects for a successful keyless ignition lawsuit. You may be legally due significant economic recovery. Let us help.

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