Keyless cars… that’s certainly an idea for the 21st century – right?
Did you know keyless is now a feature on over half the 17 million new cars sold in America? Drivers of these cars carry a wireless key fob rather than a set of keys. With the fob in hand (or in a pocket), cars can be now started with the mere push of a button.
The problem is – cars must also be switched off with the push of a button.
And that’s where the danger lies.
Since 2006, it’s estimated that over two dozen drivers in the U.S. have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after they pulled their keyless cars into their garages and forgot to turn their cars off. The actual number is not known since no federal agency keeps these statistics.
One would think there’s an easy and inexpensive fix for this problem… and there is.
A number of years ago the Society of Automotive Engineers recommended programming cars to emit a series of beeps to warn drivers who exited their vehicles without turning them off. As an alternative, they also suggested programming cars to turn off on their own if left running.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has even proposed federal regulations based on the latter idea. It’s a software change that the agency says could be accomplished for pennies per vehicle.
Who would object to such a common-sense solution?
The auto industry.
Turns out that automakers knew of the risk of asphyxiation in 2006.
Despite that fact, only a few automakers have voluntarily introduced features intended to warn drivers if their vehicle is left running… and by many accounts, those features are insufficient.
What is the NHTSA doing to pressure automakers to make this inexpensive fix?
So far – very little.
And once again, the car companies are getting away with sacrificing public safety for profit.
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