Buy a new car today and it’s likely to be missing something you traditionally expect with a car — a key. Starting about 5 years ago, keyless ignition systems became very popular with vehicle manufacturers. Consumers were drawn to the system because of the convenience of not fumbling around for your keys while you’re entering your car plus safety factors of not being distracted while you’re approaching your car. Who hasn’t been frustrated by not being able to find your keys in your purse (or your wife not being able to find her keys in her purse)?
A problem quickly became apparent, though, once the systems hit the market. People would get out of their cars without turning them off. This was even more prevalent with the gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles when the motors might not be running and making noise when the passenger left the car. Thus, the driver could believe the car was off and not realize it was still running.
Early accounts of this problem arose in 2010, when a 29 year old Florida woman died after she left her vehicle running in her garage. This was followed by a death in New York and, in 2012, the death of Harry Pitt, a former superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, who died in his Washington, D.C. home after accidentally leaving his vehicle running in his garage. In these instances, carbon monoxide filled the garage and the homes where the vehicle owners were sleeping, causing their deaths. Continue reading