4 Reasons Your Keyless Car Ignition Is a Safety Hazard

Photo (cc) by ckramer

One of the most dangerous new technologies on cars is also one of the most celebrated — keyless ignitions.

There were at least 13 carbon monoxide deaths linked to keyless ignitions and enough other incidents to prompt the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to post a public notice in the National Register reporting that the technology poses a “clear safety problem,” according to Scripps news service.

Richard Reina, product training director at CARiD.com and an auto expert with over 30 years of experience, said his recent experiences with keyless ignition convinced him the systems are more dangerous than most people realize.

“I was shocked by what the car will allow you to do,” he said. “And you are taking an action [of using a key in an ignition] that has been ingrained in drivers and… changed the protocol….That can lead to accidents.”

Here are four reasons to think twice before you buy a car with keyless ignition

  1. It’s easy to leave the car running. We all hear that cars with keyless ignitions are silent, but we might not realize how that impacts us until we drive one. One Florida man was left gravely ill and his girlfriend died after she inadvertently left a keyless ignition car running in a garage attached at her home, according to a Florida ABC-TV affiliate. The incident isn’t isolated. A class action lawsuit has been brought against 10 automakers due to carbon monoxide deaths in such cars, reported the Consumerist.

2. Safety features don’t prevent some accidents. Reina put a car with keyless ignition into drive, engaged the parking brake, and then exited the car without hitting the button to shut down the engine. “In fairness to the [automaker] there was a read-out on the dashboard that noted the power is on,” said Reina, adding that soft beeps also sounded. “But I was still able to open the door and walk away. A roll-a-way incident could have occurred.”

3. It’s difficult to change your driving habits. No matter how sure you are that you will understand the process of shutting off a keyless ignition car, emergencies happen. If you are late to work or to get your child from daycare, your past driving patterns might kick in, he said. That means you could fail to shut down the car and injure or kill yourself or others

4. Valets and others may not be keyless ignition savvy. Reina tells the story of valets who have inadvertently not shut down a keyless ignition car. The result could be anything from an accident to a dead battery.

What’s your experience with keyless ignitions? What do you think needs to be done to ensure their safety? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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