Is your car safe?
That’s the question consumers are asking after news broke that a lawsuit was filed today in California against 10 major automakers for what is being called a “deadly” defect in their keyless ignition systems.
According to the suit, consumers are charging that manufacturers knew there was a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in more than 5 million vehicles equipped with keyless ignitions, causing 13 deaths.
Keyless systems are available on most new cars and let drivers start their car by pushing a button instead of a key, as long as an electronic “key fob” is detected by the car.
The car is not supposed to start if the key fob isn’t nearby, but according to the complaint there is a defect in the system that allows them to it continue to run even after the fob itself is no longer close by.
As a result, clueless drivers have left their vehicles running inside enclosed areas, like garages, causing a build-up of carbon monoxide gas that has seeped into homes, killing them.
The risk is greater on cars with quiet running engines.
Some cars have an automatic shut-off or will beep if a car is running for too long, but it is not standard or a wide-spread practice.
This lawsuit seeks to change that, as the plaintiffs are asking for an injunction requiring automakers to install automatic shut-off features on all existing and future vehicles that have keyless ignitions.
They are also seeking monetary compensation.
The automakers named as defendant in the suit are: BMW, including Mini; Nissan, including Infiniti; Toyota, including Lexus; Daimler’s Mercedes Benz; Fiat Chrysler; Ford; General Motors; Honda, including Acura; Hyundai, including Kia; and Volkswagen, including Bentley.
As of now Ford is the only company to comment, saying it takes customer safety “very seriously,” and that their keyless ignition system is “safe and reliable.”
What do you think of this lawsuit? What do you think automakers should do?
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