28 killed by keyless cars

At least 28 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning because drivers forgot to turn off the ignition

Rather than a physical key, drivers carry a fob that transmits a radio signal, and as long as the fob is present, a vehicle can be started with the touch of a button. But a wireless key opens the possibility for a driver to exit a vehicle with the key without turning it off. But weaned from the habit of turning and removing a key to shut off the motor, drivers - particularly older ones - can be lulled by newer, quieter engines into mistakenly thinking that it has stopped running. Keyless ignition allows drivers to start their cars with the press of a button while an electronic key fob remains in their pocket or purse.

Read the full New York Times report. The result: carbon monoxide doing great harm in both garages and homes. The Globe and Mail wrote about the phenomenon in January 2018, and one expert the Canadian news outlet spoke to quoted a similar number.

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According to a New York Times report, there have been at least 28 deaths and 45 injuries caused by carbon monoxide emitted from vehicles with keyless ignitions since 2006. Ford's keyless-ignition vehicles will shut off if the key fob is not detected in the vehicle for 30 minutes, while Fiat Chrysler and Mazda vehicles will alert drivers when the key fob is not inside a running auto, but will not automatically turn it off.

According to a spokesman for Toyota in an interview with the BBC, "Customer safety is always our priority and Toyota's Smart Key System has and continues to meet or exceed all relevant safety standards". Dozens others have gotten sick, some left with brain damage.

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The issue first came to the attention of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

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