Are Keyless Vehicles Hazardous?

Most of us have been there, you get a brand new car, the excitement, enjoying all the smart new intelligent features that you half understand.However, no one in that state could predict their new vehicle could cause a fatality. Unfortunately, that was the case on February 27, 2009 when Mary Rivera, a Professor at Fordham University in New York, parked her new Toyota Lexus in her garage.She unknowingly left it running when she exited with her key fob. She narrowly escaped death on the fateful day however her husband died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The culprit in this case was the keyless ignition system.The system is now on over half of all the new vehicles sold in the United States. Positioned as a forward-thinking convenience, it’s turning out to be a technological backfire with more and more accidents and fatalities related to it.

Why Choose Keyless Ignitions?

The convenience part of keyless ignition comes from not having to remove the key fob from your bag or pocket to start the car. Instead, you just press an ignition button on the dash. Combined with keyless entry, this technology allows a driver to never use a key to unlock, enter or even start the vehicle. The perilous part is that it also means not having to deal with the key when shutting the engine down and locking the car. Turning a key to stop our cars is a deeply ingrained behavior that keyless start eliminates. Combined with the calm, smooth and quiet operation of today’s engines, people are forgetfully leaving their vehicles engines running on exit.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common fatality case caused by these keyless systems claiming the lives of Chasity Glisson of Fort Lauderdale, Adele and Mort Victor just to name a few. Deaths and injuries arise when cars either fail to shut down completely or were accidentally left running by the driver on exit.

Added Dangers Of This Technology

Keyless systems have also been associated with a loss of engine power, whereby the car’s computer system thinks the key fob isn’t present, when it is, and automatically shuts the engine off. If this happens while driving on a busy highway, it will be lucky for the driver to escape with minor injuries.

Parked cars rolling away have also been reported. It happens when the driver shuts the engine off while the car is still in gear mode (drive or reverse). Such is possible with keyless cars but a staunch impossibility in traditional ignition key systems that require the car to be in park mode before the driver can remove the key. Rolling cars could potentially knock people down or even roll into driveways causing collision accidents.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database shows an increasing pattern of keyless vehicle accidents. Provisions in the Federal Motor Vehicle (FMV) Safety Standard 114 protect citizens from some of the hazards associated with keyless cars. One rule requires that an automatic transmission vehicle must be placed in “park” position for key removal to be possible. Another requires that a vehicle should not be operated after the key is removed from the ignition. Keyless cars blatantly break both rules endangering the lives of the drivers.

Proper checks and balances should be placed to ensure that the technology does not continue on its current trend, lest it causes more harm than good. Car manufacturers should also analyse the system and come up with efficient safety standards to make keyless cars entirely safe.